As concerned citizens, members of the queer community, and other human rights activists, are deeply disturbed by TV9 Telugu channel’s 22nd Feb 2011 broadcast that violated the basic rights and dignity of the LGBTQI community. Using private pictures, hidden-camera footage, and phone conversations, this broadcast made public the identities of some gay men without their consent. This was grossly invasive, unethical and violated the basic regulations of the National Broadcasting Association. Furthermore, News9, the TV9 English news channel in Bangalore, has continued to telecast a slightly edited version even after numerous protests against this news story.
TV9 conducted a ‘sting operation’ where they publicly named users of a social networking site and displayed their private photographs. They also recorded, and subsequently aired, phone-calls with these men in which their investigator asked leading questions relating to the private sexual preferences of the men. This broadcast has deeply and adversely impacted the lives of these individuals as well as all those who use such social networking sites as one of the few spaces available to the queer community to safely meet one another. This report is the latest in a series of incidents where the media has acted unethically in its coverage of sexuality.
The queer movement has received strong support from many media houses working in almost every Indian language in our fight for our rights and in the campaign against Sec 377. We urge our friends in the media to join us in protesting the unethical actions of TV9 and establish beyond any further doubt that the media in this country will stand by the LGBTQI community as the struggle for dignity and rights continues.
• That TV9 refrain from negative and homophobic portrayals of the queer and other marginalized communities.
• That the replaying of the footage, raw, unedited, and unused, be stopped immediately
• That a public apology be aired on the television channels concerned for these violations of the basic rights of the persons involved and the queer community at large.
We also urge fellow members of the queer community and our allies not to be intimidated by these reports. This protest is also to claim the spaces that are ours and state that violations of our dignity and rights will not be tolerated.
We join similar protests in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Mumbai.
Date : 28th February, 2011
Time : 5PM – 8PM
Venue : TV9 Office, New Delhi, 21 Bhai Vir Singh Marh, Near Gole Market, New Delhi