The media portrays a “twisted picture” of Delhi as the “rape capital” and “crime capital” of India and this is affecting the way tourists perceive the city, according to the Delhi Police.
In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court in response to a PIL, Delhi Police have claimed that this “exaggerated characterisation” has led to tourists developing a “distorted notion” about the law and order situation in the national capital even though their native countries may have a higher crime rate.
The tremendous competition among media organisations, particularly TV channels, is resulting in the “sensationalisation of crimes”, even though “the situation is well under control and crimes are being solved regularly,” claimed the police.
“At times, it is noticed that the media, in an exaggerated manner, has been portraying the image of places, especially in context of the national capital, from time to time as the ‘rape capital’, ‘crime capital’ etc,” stated the affidavit.
“As a result, even tourists from western countries where the incidence of crimes is manifold more than in Delhi develop a rather distorted notion about the crime and law and order situation in the city,” said the police.
The Delhi Police claimed that because crimes committed daily in the capital are being given wide coverage, “it does not mean that the law and order situation is out of control or something unprecedented is happening.”
The affidavit, which will come up for hearing on Friday, claimed that Delhi remains under the constant scanner of the media, which jumps to incorrect conclusions at times and their reports are sometimes also based on vested interests.
“The tough competition in the media leads to a tendency towards sensationalising crimes such as murder, rape, bribery, kidnapping etc, which gives the impression that the crime situation is out of control and that the Delhi Police is incompetent and unable to handle the situation,” complained the police, adding there were instances where police were shown in a bad light by the media.
Incidentally, the crime rate in Delhi had almost doubled in 2014, according to figures released by the police.
The number of criminal cases registered in the capital rose from 73,902 in 2013 to 1,47,230 last year.
The number of reported cases of rape increased by 31 per cent while the number of murder cases rose by 15 per cent. Cases of attempt to murder and kidnapping for ransom increased by 32 per cent.
The Delhi Police have also expressed their anguish about the media allegedly not carrying corrections or rejoinders to news stories with factual inaccuracies, and sought guidelines from the top court.
“This Honourable Court may be pleased to issue guidelines commanding the media and the press for publishing rejoinders issued by the Delhi Police by giving the same coverage as was given while publishing or broadcasting the news story earlier,” said the affidavit.