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Self Defense from Bad Press- Should you be involved if you work there?

by on September 23, 2014

I thought I should write about this as I felt it was relevant to what we have been discussing in class. In India, a recent news article broke out about a famous Indian actress named Deepika Padukone. She had responded to a tweet from India’s leading newspaper Times of India, over a sexist article they had posted with inappropriate pictures of her from different times she did publicity for her movies.

In her tweet, Deepika told the newspaper to stop claiming they were for women’s empowerment when they didn’t know how to respect women. Times of India responded saying she should consider what they said a compliment. This lead to a battle between the film industry (and certain media/newspapers) against the Times of India. The film industry and many newspapers spoke up for the actress; she even gave lots of interviews about sexism in the media. However, to counter the bad press, Times of India claimed that “Yes, the headline could have been better. But the world of online is very different from that of newspapers. It is chaotic and cluttered — and sensational headlines are far from uncommon”

In addition to writing a front page article justifying why they were right to post up the photos (they claimed it was in the public domain and free for use by any publication), they continued to criticise the actress’s “hypocrisy” for allowing such images to be made in the first place if she didn’t want such incidents to happen. They also claimed that the actress timed her response to their tweet to help publicize her newly released film, as the photo set was available for at least a year before she chose to say anything about it. There has still been no formal apology to the actress.

Imagine you were working in a publication where you don’t agree with the ideals. How would you justify to the public that the views of the publication doesn’t necessarily speak for each employee? We spoke about this in class where people said they often worked in places where they didn’t agree with the policies of their employer. Would you speak out and offer an alternative piece within the publication to counter the existing article?

This publication clearly feels that it is in the right, and it has been receiving a lot of bad press from other media companies and the film industry. It claims that other media companies have also done the same things they have and gotten away with it. How does one deal with this ethical dilemma when working in another publication? Should the opinions of a publication be cemented in the public eye in case you are worried about losing readership the way TOI did? Or should you still stick to reporting only the exchange between the two parties involved.

I have enclosed some links so you can read about this

DNA Article

The TOI Article that responded to backlash

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One Comment
  1. mariahscafidi permalink

    I think in situations like this, it really comes down to your beliefs – that could just be my strong feminist side showing, but I would definitely take a stance on the situation and offer another article that shows my side of the story. I think sometimes publications can be too objective, especially when it comes to issues involving women and how their sexuality/bodies are interpreted. It sounds bad to pick and choose, but I’m passionate on a lot of womens’ issues and less so on other issues in mainstream media. I think you always sort of risk your credibility, relationship with sources, and in this case, a relationship with your editors/publication, but I think if you really feel strongly on one subject, it’s not hurting anybody to take a stance on it. Maybe it closes the door to that publication but opens another to a publication more suited for your stances and your beliefs – somewhere you feel like your opinion does matter, and that is a better suited working environment for you.

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