Reporting responsibly: a blog debating media coverage of sexual violence

As news outlets, several of them mainstream ones with wide audiences,
began publishing the Tehelka journalist’s private complaint to her
management without removing details that could be used to identify
her, and in some cases without even redacting her name, a small group
of concerned people, mostly women journalists, coalesced organically
on Facebook. They wrote and circulated a petition that asked the media
to refrain from publishing the woman’s emails without her consent and
to remove content that violated her privacy. While it drew widespread
support – nearly 500 people signed the petition – it also attracted
criticism from some quarters.

To broaden the conversation and to generate fresh perspectives on how
sexual violence can be reported ethically, the group decided to create
a Tumblr blog called ‘Report Responsibly’.

To start with, the moderators of the blog contacted editors from
leading media groups and asked them to reflect on how they took
editorial decisions on the reporting of the Tehelka case and what
principles they believe must guide the coverage of sexual violence.
The responses of the editors of The HinduNDTV and Outlook are
featured on the blog. The blog also carries short pieces written by
journalists, academics, and general readers on questions ranging from
what constitutes privacy to whether media trials adversely affect
judicial trials in sexual assault cases.

More contributions to the blog are welcome. Please write to or post a submission on