India Today Reporter’s Teletalk With Hathras Family Leaked, Triggers Row


India Today reporter Tanushree Pandey. — Internet photo

India Today said that it stood by its reporter, and lashed out at the government for allegedly tapping and leaking phone calls of journalists in contravention of the law

Clarion India

NEW DELHI — An audio of the telephonic conversation between India Today reporter Tanushree Pandey and the family of the Hathras rape victim has surfaced on social media and news websites, raising apprehensions that the government is tapping phone calls of journalists and the victim’s family.

The media house Friday issued a statement asking the Uttar Pradesh government to answer how the phone chat was leaked online. In a statement, India Today asked the government to explain under what rules the Hathras family was under surveillance.

OpIndia, a right-wing news website, reported that the India Today reporter was persuading the family to give out statements that they were being coerced by the administration to speak in favour of the government.

However, Pandey refuted the allegations, saying she was simply asking the brother (Sandeep) of the victim to record his father’s statement and send it to her.

In the audio clip, available on internet, Pandey is heard asking Sandeep to send a video statement of his father on the lines of the video released by Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi about he being coerced by the administration to sign a document which says the family is satisfied with the police probe.

India Today said that it stood by its reporter, and lashed out at the government for allegedly tapping and leaking phone calls of journalists in contravention of the law.

Anchor Rahul Kanwal held a prime-time debate on this issue questioning the government on how the phone call was leaked. Bharatiya Janata Party leader and IT Cell head Amit Malviya who participated in the debate said that the audio recording showed that the media was forcing the family to give statements contrary to the facts. He also suggests that the “misreporting” by the media was the reason reporters were barred from entering the victim’s village in Hathras.

Malviya criticised the media for reporting that the victim was gang-raped as he said that the autopsy report had suggested there was “no rape”. However, activists have raised questions over the conclusions being drawn from the forensic report, saying that mere absence of sperm in private parts does not confirm there was no rape. The video statements of the victim days before she died show her saying she was raped and strangled.

India Today rejected the allegations against journalist Pandey and asked the legal basis for tapping and leaking the phone conversation between the journalist and the victim’s family.

Clarion India could not independently verify whether the government agencies were involved in tapping and leaking the phone conversation between India Today reporter and the family.

Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.


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