A section of the media faced a severe backlash on social media for its reportage on women who were at a pub in Chennai that was allegedly kept open till midnight.
The media report moral-policed the women and their attire as they were trying to leave the pub. Some camerapersons of the news channels even chased the women and used foul language when they objected to being filmed.
According to the city police, the pub, which falls under the Saidapet police limit, was open past 11:30 pm — the deadline for closing pubs — on Sunday, 19 November.
“Our sub-inspector (SI), who was on regular patrol, heard loud noises coming from the pub and a group of men were standing outside creating a ruckus. The SI warned them to leave the place and also told the pub management to shut down immediately,” a senior police official told South First.
He added, “A group of men inside the pub objected to closing the pub and entered into an altercation with the management. Meanwhile, the SI informed his higher-ups and called for additional force.”
More personnel came to the spot and made efforts to close the pub. Later, the pub manager was taken to the police station for an inquiry.
Women hounded by news channels
According to sources, a group of people came to the pub around closing time and insisted that they be allowed inside as a few of their friends were already inside. “When the pub management refused to allow them, they created a ruckus. A person, who works with a prominent television channel, was inside the pub and passed the information on to his media friends.”
When the women in the pub left, shocked by media’s having presence, they covered their faces. The cameramen of the news channels insisted that they show their faces, a demand many of the women objected to.
When one of the women said that she would commit suicide if her face was caught on camera, a cameraman told her to die.
The cameramen did not even spare the women who came with their male friends. They were chased even after objecting to showing their faces.
Further, the news channels, when the incident was broadcasted, tagged the women as “high on boozed” and termed the incident as “social destruction”.
பாருக்குள்ளே யாரு ? ‘பக்காடி’ அக்கா பாரு..! ராக்குடி ரங்கீலாக்கள் ஓட்டம்..! மேட்ச் தோத்திருச்சிப்பா.. அதான் குடிக்கிறோம்..!#Chennai | #Nandanam | #Party | #PrivateBar | #BigBull | #Youngsters | #Police | #PolimerNews https://t.co/sVGxTPBOER
— Polimer News (@polimernews) November 20, 2023
Netizens react to moral policing
Condemning the moral policing incident by the media, netizens and several women’s rights activists condemned the way that the women were portrayed in the reportage.
Thanthi TV’s employees going after women doing nothing except – have some alcohol – as if they were busting some group of rapists showcases everything that is wrong with society today.
The problem is that the pub was open beyond specified hours – but the owner of the pub, nor… https://t.co/dq3XGrFuzT
— Chinmayi Sripaada (@Chinmayi) November 20, 2023
Police sources told South First that the pub belongs to a political heavyweight and no FIR was registered, as the inquiry is ongoing.