‘Digital coverage makes it more likely for people to be heard by those in power’

Helping people get justice when official systems have failed them is the driving force behind his journalism, says Bharat Nayak, the Bangalore-based editorial director of The Logical Indian, a digital media platform that has amassed a wide audience — it has almost 6 million followers on Facebook — for its opinionated, citizen-focused and activist style of reporting.

Bharat Nayak

Is the digital news media’s coverage of rape and sexual violence different from that of traditional media? How?

Often, stories of rape are initially covered by print media and local channels in places where digital hasn’t reached yet. In fact, most of the digital media reports that you see have been covered locally first. Digital media platforms do not have a lot of employees, stringers or reporters.

However, digital media coverage increases the chances of the voice of the people being heard, via Facebook and Twitter, by those in power because of their presence on social media. If rape has happened and it is being talked about on social media, then it will be talked about everywhere. Digital media has become a bigger voice than traditional media. It can give victims of sexual assault a voice.

As resources increase, reporting will improve in digital media. The conversation in digital media is far better than in local print and TV media. No one is calling a misogynist on Facebook Live to give comments on rape, but TV media does that!

Does digital news media have an advantage when it comes to increasing awareness about sexual violence?

On digital media, if there is a conversation on an issue that involves women and if women are not a part of it, they will definitely question you. Digital media has picked up a lot of women’s issues — like menstruation — that mainstream media has never talked about. The #MeToo movement did not happen in newspapers or on television. It happened on digital media.

But digital media has not gone to rural India yet, and it is important that women from rural India get to participate. Right now, the feminism that you are talking about is concentrated in urban India. It needs to go to rural India; we need more reports from there.

Read the full interview here.

Read I Think: The problem comes when journalists cover one story one day and the next day there is no follow-up

Also read दुष्कर्म. And रेप. The paradoxical language of बलात्कार in a Hindi newspaper

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