Tamil news channels slammed for moral policing at Chennai pubtext_fields
Chennai: The recent incident at a pub in Chennai's Turn Bulls Road during the cricket World Cup final led to an unsettling narrative in Tamil news channels' coverage, targeting women present at the venue.
A group's disturbance prompted the pub manager to call the police, alleging entry denial and a violation of the 11.30 pm curfew.
As the police intervened and shut down the pub, news channels, including Thanthi TV, NewsTamil 24*7, and Polimer, shockingly shifted focus onto the women attendees, making derogatory comments about their attire and behaviour.
Saidapet police, overseeing the pub's area, confirmed its operation past curfew, detailing their response to a midnight complaint. Upon inspection, news channels were present, notably Thanthi TV, Polimer, and News Tamil 24x7, when the police arrived. However, the pub manager highlighted their intent to close by the stipulated time but claimed threats from a group hindered their efforts, prompting police involvement, reported The News Minute.
The media's coverage sparked widespread online outrage, questioning the unwarranted targeting of women attendees instead of the pub's management. Numerous critics noted the portrayal of women's presence at the bar as a criminal act.
Thanthi TV's edited post on social media further fueled criticism, describing the incident as an "all-night alcohol party busted by the police," derogatorily highlighting "half-dressed women running out."
The news channel's video report blatantly disregarded women's discomfort, persistently capturing their faces and actions despite attempts to conceal identities. Women faced invasive filming, even when leaving, using scarves and masks to protect their privacy, which the channel dismissed, prompting threats of police complaints.
The media's language in both Thanthi TV and Polimer's captions and thumbnails continued to objectify and criticise the women attendees, using derogatory terms implying sexual interactions.
The incident highlighted a significant lapse in responsible journalism, with another channel, Polimer, echoing similar derogatory sentiments.
"The women in a Chennai bar who partied loudly ran away as cops surrounded them," said the YouTube video description by Polimer.
Social media users condemned Thanthi TV's reporting, expressing disdain for the channel's focus on individuals trying to maintain anonymity while failing to question the establishment's accountability.
"Shame on you Thanthi TV! Rather than shaming the administration and law enforcement, you are shaming those who are there! Grow up and if you have a spine, question the people who are at fault! Isn't it moral policing you are doing?," wrote another X user.
"They have focused on women even after the women asked them not to film them. Did they consume alcohol and fall on the road? Media is selling the freedom of individual persons. Is this media ethics?," asked an X user.
Critics voiced concerns over moral policing and media ethics, questioning the disproportionate focus on attendees rather than the pub's illegal operations.