Amid the ongoing controversy over the Guwahati molestation case, the Editor-in-chief of News Live, the channel that filmed and aired the molestation of a teenage girl outside a local bar, today resigned from the news organization at a press conference in Guwahati.
The editor Atanu Bhuyan quit on Tuesday afternoon but still stands firm on the decision of filming the 17-year-old girl, who was brutally assaulted and stripped by nearly 20 men last week outside a city bar located in Christian Basti area of Guwahati on July 9.
"I m going to resign from newslive at 1 pm," Bhuyan tweeted earlier this morning, asserting that he has no regrets over the decision of his reporter.
"I still say my reporter and cameraperson did nothing wrong. An investigation is now on and the truth will come out."
The Guwahati-based news channel has been under the scanner for their unethical reporting on the attack and the camera person who recorded has been accused of instigating the molesters. The humiliating assault video went viral online soon after it was released on web without protecting the identity of the victim.
While the off-duty reporter, who was reportedly seen sitting with the molesters at the venue before the attack, has also been alleged for sustaining the brutal assault on the minor girl; however, the news channel has a different story to tell.
According to the editor of News Live, it was the reporter who first informed the police and filmed the incident as evidence against the culprits.
My reporters informed the police, who saved the girl before it was too 'late'," Bhuyan tweeted, further asserting that "had we not shot the incident, the molesters would have been roaming scot-free."
"Many people are criticising us for shooting the molestation incident. But let me tell them that asserts have been made only because of the visuals," he said adding that "I'm backing my team since the mob would have attacked them, prevented them from shooting, that would have only destroyed all evidence."
On Sunday, hundreds of Krishak Mukti activists led by the RTI activist of Assam, Akhil Gogoi, staged protest outside the News Live office demanding the closing down of the channel.
However, a Twitter user brought into light another contrasting picture in the blame game.
"Akhil Gogoi is hell bent against NewsLive since ages. Its only his malice against NewsLive tht he is shooting d messenger@atanubhuyan," he tweeted, hinting that Gogoi is perhaps targeting the channel due to the harsh news reports by the news channel in the past.
"He hasn't spoken a single word against molesters, his only target is NewsLive," he wrote.
Bhuyan re-tweeted adding that "Akhil Gogoi has addressed the media twice in 2 days. But he didn't for once demanded that all the molesters should be arrested and punished."
News Live's Bhuyan has constantly been tweeting about activist Gogoi for a while. Recently, he tweeted : "Even after being declared completely fit by doctors, Akhil Gogoi refuses to take discharge from Nalbari Civil Hospital," followed by other comments like "Akhil should know that there are other patients at the hospital. They are undergoing treatment and not staying there for time-pass."
Meanwhile, the chief minister of Assam said that "Journalists have a responsibility. Taking photographs is part of the job, but why didn't the journalist did not inform the police. The journalist did not do his job."
"There was fault on part of the police too. Since I am in charge of the home department I admit that there is lapse on my part too and the department," he added.
Another action that has sparked criticism is the insensitive decision of NCW (National Commission for Women) member Alka Lamba, who named the victim at a press conference over the issue. Lamba has been dismissed on Monday.
So far, of the total 20 accused, only 11 of the 13 identified culprits have been detained. However, there is no credible information if the main accused Amarjyoti Kalita has been arrested or not.
Bhuyan tweeted on July 15 that the main culprit has been arrested in Assam; however, according to news reports Kalita is still not under the police custody.