Assam molestation: Channel editor says he'll quit

Indo Asian News Service

Guwahati, July 17 (IANS) Atanu Bhuyan, editor-in-chief of News Live channel, has announced his decision to quit following widespread criticism of the telecast of the molestation of a teenage girl here July 9.

"I have not decided to resign owning any moral responsibility after the channel and one of its reporters was dragged into the controversy over the molestation case on July 9," said Bhuyan while addressing a press conference at the Guwahati Press Club.

He will, however, remain associated with the channel as one of its board members.

Channel reporter Gaurav Jyoti Neog was accused of instigating the mob to strip the teen after she came out of a pub on the busy G.S. Road. Neog resigned Sunday after a probe was ordered by the state government.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi Monday accused Neog of being involved in the incident.

"After the chief minister's intervention, I feel that the inquiry against the reporter is not going to be impartial and there might be pressure on News Live from various sections to sack me. So, I have decided to quit," said Bhuyan.

"Prior to the July 9 incident, woman Congress legislator Rumi Nath was attacked in Assam's Barak Valley. Similarly, Team Anna member Akhil Gogoi was manhandled by a mob in Nalbari. In both the incidents, the chief minister neither named anyone nor ordered any inquiry. However, in the G.S. Road incident, he accused our reporter and promptly ordered an inquiry," he said.

"Immediately after the chief minister's statement, Neog was also quizzed by police for four hours," said Bhuyan.

The channel head also admitted that his decisions to repeatedly telecast the visuals of molestation on the channel and revealing the identity of the victim were wrong.

"I admit that the two decisions taken by me were wrong. But the national channels also did the same thing. While they (national channels) condemned us for the telecast of the visuals, they also telecast the same visuals which were mainly procured from News Live," said Bhuyan.

Bhuyan justified his move to upload the edited versions of the visuals on YouTube website. "I have uploaded the visuals on YouTube but there is no harm as I did that after the visuals were telecast on channels," he said.

The visuals went viral on the internet after being uploaded on YouTube.

The All India Mahila Congress Monday demanded action against the channel reporter and editor-in-chief for posting derogatory comments against women on Twitter after the July 9 incident.

Bhuyan justified his comment on Twitter and said that it was posted only partially and if someone read the whole remark, he would understand that there was nothing wrong in it.