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While being raped, she shouldn’t have fought back: Nirbhaya’s rapist

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By Harshmeet Singh

It is time for girls to take another lesson. This time, from a person convicted of carrying out one of the most brutal gang rapes reported in Indian history.

Mukesh Singh, the driver of the fateful bus inside which 23 year old physiotherapy student Nirbhaya was gang raped and assaulted in Delhi on 16th December, 2012, said in an interview to BBC that women who go out at night have only themselves to blame in case they attract the attention of male molesters. According to English website www.independent.co.uk, the convict said that “while being raped, she shouldn’t have fought back. She should have just remained silent and allowed the rape.”

The interview was taken by Leslee Udwin, a British filmmaker working for BBC. The interview is a part of a documentary which is scheduled to be aired on BBC on 8thMarch 2015, the International Women’s Day.

nirbhaya case

The Nirbhaya gang rape case saw an unprecedented response from the society, with millions of people belonging to different age groups, taking to streets and demanding death penalty for all the offenders, including a juvenile. The aftermath of the incident saw two major steps being taken by the government.

Firstly, Justice Verma committee was formed to come up with necessary amendments in the criminal law to allow sterner punishment in the sexual assault cases. 29 days and 80,000 suggestions later, the committee submitted its report to the government. While the committee favoured the broadening of definition of sexual offences, it rejected the popular demand of decreasing the juvenile age to 16 from 18.

Secondly, the creation of a Rs 1,000 crore Nirbhaya Fund to provide financial assistance to the NGOs working in areas of women security. In his Budget speech, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced an additional corpus of Rs 1,000 crore to the fund. However, neither the previous government nor the current one has put forward any concrete plans for the usage of these funds.

The parents of the girl have shown exemplary courage by coming out in the open and fighting for justice for their beloved daughter. And now it is up to the society and the authorities to ensure that their agony isn’t stretched too far.

Read more here: Hypocrisy in society

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Burundi Blocks Broadcasts from VOA, BBC and Expand Restrictions on their Operations

Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza, said the news organizations were banned for spreading falsehoods

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burundi, VOA, BBC
Television director of Burundi's National Radio and Television, Nestor Bankumukunzi, poses in the studio in Bujumbura on May 15,2015. VOA

Burundi will continue to block broadcasts from two international media organizations and expand restrictions on their operations, the government announced Friday.

At a meeting in Bujumbura, the president of the National Council of Communication, Nestor Bankumukunzi, said the British Broadcasting Corp. and the Voice of America are no longer allowed to broadcast, effective immediately. The ban is indefinite and extends to journalists, both foreign and domestic, who provide information to either broadcaster.

“We are alarmed that reporters in Burundi are now forbidden to communicate with VOA and believe these continuing threats to our journalists undermine press freedom in the country,” VOA Director Amanda Bennett said. “We stand with the people of Burundi against those who are restricting their access to accurate and reliable news and information.”

BBC, VOA, burundi
The BBC condemned the decision, calling it “a serious blow against media freedom.” VOA

The BBC condemned the decision, calling it “a serious blow against media freedom.”

Last May, the Burundi government suspended both news organizations for six months, a week before holding a referendum on a new constitution. The outlets have been off the air since.

Rachel Nicholson, a researcher for Amnesty International, said Burundi’s government is angry at the broadcasters for different reasons.

The government was upset by a documentary the BBC broadcast last year, she said, about members of Burundi’s intelligence service operating secret sites where dissidents are detained and tortured.

BBC, VOA, burundi
Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza speaks after signing for a new constitution adopted by a referendum in Bugendana, Burundi, on June 7, 2018. The change will allow Nkurunziza to run for office twice more in seven-year terms from 2020. VOA

Burundi has accused VOA of employing a journalist who opposes the government, Nicholson added. Patrick Nduwimana, the former director of Bonesha FM Radio in Burundi, is “wanted for participating in deadly violence that preceded the May attempted coup,” the National Council of Communications wrote in Friday’s statement.

“I think it’s really worrying to see the government personalize attacks on radio stations. They have such an important role to play, particularly BBC and VOA, particularly in the absence of independent Burundian radio stations operating from within the country,” Amnesty’s Nicholson said. “The BBC and VOA have such an important role to play in sharing information with people in Burundi.”

In a phone interview with VOA, Willy Nyamitwe, senior adviser to Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza, said the news organizations were banned for spreading falsehoods.

 

VOA, BBC, burundi
“We are alarmed that reporters in Burundi are now forbidden to communicate with VOA and believe these continuing threats to our journalists undermine press freedom in the country,” VOA Director Amanda Bennett said. VOA

“Some international media are biased. Everybody knows some reports were fake reports, fake news,” Nyamitwe said. “So if people cannot even try to speak the truth, but if some people are using some media outlets only to spread lies, what other comments do I have to do?”

Nyamitwe also said that Burundi has an open media landscape and that all countries have the right to ban news organizations that spread lies. “There are thousands of journalists in the country. There are tens of media houses, radio stations, TV stations, newspapers, media online.

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“So I think people are exaggerating thinking that there’s no media houses in the country,” he said. “I do know that even in the United States there are some media houses that have been called biased or fake news media houses.”

In its 2018 press freedom report, Reporters Without Borders ranked Burundi 159th out of 180 countries worldwide. It said security forces routinely harass journalists and pointed to the unsolved 2016 disappearance of journalist Jean Bigirimana as evidence of intimidation and violence against reporters. (VOA)