Text of statement made by Zee News editor Sudhir Chaudhary on Delhi braveheart friend’s interview
New Delhi: There are a lot of mails and phone calls coming to Zee News and my colleagues in Zee News editorial that we should tell the viewers what happened in those two and a half
hours in the bus and why Zee News did not show that part of story when we interviewed the witness? Most of the callers were sure that when we have interviewed the person from the time the victim girl and he were thrown out of the bus, thinking that both were dead, we must have recorded the details which happened in the bus as well. Why are we not showing that part?
In view of so many calls and angry messages, I want to tell the true version to the viewers of Zee News, as well as the 670 million viewers of zee network.
When we started recording the interview with the eye witness, he started telling us the story right from the time he and the victim came out of the mall and their unfortunate journey that began without knowing that their destiny is taking them to disaster. He talked about how they got into the bus and described the ambience in the bus, the dark glasses, the curtains and the darkness in the bus. These details are there in the interview we have telecast.
He then started telling us the minute by minute account of what happened in the bus and how he and the helpless girl were struggling to defend themselves and how he was trying to save her.
I have to tell you all my friends and well-wishers, which is YOU. It is because of you that my team, me and my company exists. If you as a viewer will not give your time to watch our channel we cannot survive. Hence you demanding the account of what happened with the girl and the boy in the bus, is fully justified.
But dear viewers, I have to say that Zee News and the entire Zee Network has always kept the country’s dignity supreme. We have been responsible rather than keeping a selfish motive
to make money as supreme. If we would have recorded and shown the minute by minute account of what happened in those two and half hour in the bus running on the busy roads of Delhi, our viewership would have exceeded the viewership of the 26/11 attack in Mumbai.
It would have been a bigger television show than the attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001. You would have been as ashamed as much as we would have been in the recording studio here.
As soon as the witness started telling the minute by minute account, my team decided to switch off the cameras and not take it on record so that we are not tempted to telecast it. If we would have shown the details of the journey in the bus and how this never before crime was committed, we could have been rated the highest reality show amongst the 400 odd TV channels in India.
We would have become the leaders in terms of TV ratings.
But we would have also made the 121 crore Indians feel ashamed of themselves.
We felt that it could have aroused emotions of the people to the highest degree.
We felt that it could have aroused the anger in all of us to dangerous levels.
We felt that both emotions and anger could have resulted in a reaction like what happened when the Mandal Commission report was implemented by the Late VP Singh Government, when many young people set themselves on fire and died.
Friends, that is why we did listen to the entire story and the account of what happened in the bus and all of us cried no end while listening. For the first time, I personally felt ashamed. I have always believed that we in India have the least police stations in the world as we have least crime but the voice which was going to hit my ears would have shattered my belief. Hence we did not record this part of the story and we did not do it due to the reasons I have just put before you.
If you feel we have made a mistake, or we were wrong you have the right to say so and feel so. We can still record and show you the details of the terrible bus journey due to which the late brave girl has woken up the nation. She has warned all of us. She has asked us to change. She expects all us to be the agents of change and she wants that we should first change our selves. We should become as fearless as she and her friend did in the entire two and a half hour journey. It is only then that we can force change. We can demand and change the kind of law makers we elect. It is only when we are out of fear and favor that we can change the kind of people that represent us within India as well as outside the nation.
If we were selfish about getting more and more Television Rating Points, we would have shown the entire account of the gruesome incident. But Zee Network, Zee News, it's executives and all the people who work with us are Indians first and have always stood by India's self esteem and will continue to do so. We are for Television Respect Points and not Televsion Rating Points that everyone runs after and sensationalizes news.
We are committed to do so without fear or favor. We know that in the present time the level of tolerance to face the truth has diminished all around. No one, I repeat no one can face the slightest of criticism. This is despite many of them committing crimes and stealing public money and resources. Yet they file defamation cases against the media whenever the media tries to expose them.
Today it is a well accepted fact that none of the people running the system appreciates media, specially the online and electronic media, as it is instant. A prominent Union Minister is on record in one public function and while he may have said it in other forums as well, but I quote from the one where I heard it. He has said that the paralysis of the government not functioning is not due to the UPA government and UPA is not responsible, it is because of the CAG, the Judiciary and the media.
In this state of affairs, we at Zee News still continue our resolve to bring to you our viewers, the Indians at large, the decision makers and the civil society - The Truth. But what happened?
We are being made villains by the Government - by the system - by the police - by the so called intellectuals - and you my friends are there as a mute spectators.
Any way our matter is not so important as the issue at hand, that of THE RAPE we are talking about.
We will still face the atrocities of police, the system and the government, as we have been facing for the last few months including on Friday, when an FIR was logged against Zee News and I being the final authority was interrogated in a police station instead of being appreciated for being a responsible and a respectable journalist and broadcaster.
The complaints by us against the complainant of an FIR filed earlier on Zee News Limited by an influential MP of the ruling party, fell on the deaf ears of the Delhi Police.
Yesterday's interrogation at the police station was only directed towards "Do not show the truth which is against the system" otherwise you will suffer and will have to face police action and atrocities.
Friends, if I have your support I will say "We are and we will suffer such pains of the police raj. Though it is painful and very painful for our families, our children, but we feel these pains are far less than our elders who not only suffered the pain but laid their lives
so that we the present generation could be liberated. They did give us freedom, but they also must be wondering "DID THEY HAND OVER THE FREE INDIA TO THE RIGHT PEOPLE OR THE RIGHT SYSTEM."
I leave you with this thought.
Zara Sochiye. Jai Hind.