Recently the Law Commission was once again tasked with the job of reviewing 498a , and once again recommending if this needed to  be changed.  However the interesting thing is the stand that the media has taken on this whole issue. From the type of media reports of the media a few salient points are amply clear.

Media was thoroughly enjoying the gender war:- Innocent men going to jail, Mothers and sisters being imprisoned, Men coming out with a sense of vengeance. Some men creating ingenious methods like filing cases for giving dowry or thousands of dharnas and press conferences taking place on 498a all made for excellent masala news which the media seemed to enjoy. There is a sense of dissatisfaction in the media that these will cease of 498a becomes billable and people stop suffering. Let us further analyze this paragraph further.

Media’s agenda of family breaking may fail:- Lets face it, media loves to see breaking families. Not only does breaking families leads to more spicy news like increasing crime,  breaking families brings immense financial gain to the media and its advertisers. How ? Here is how ….

Lets say a united family of husband, wife, grandparents and grandchildren share one house, one newspaper, one fridge, one TV and one microwave. The moment the wife is separated from the husband she will need a while new set of duplicate articles for herself essentially doubling the sales of all these articles. So the more number of times a family divides the more the consumerism increases. Consequently we rarely ever see an article in the Indian newspapers and the television preaching family harmony. In fact the press seems to almost hail broken marriages and divided families and single parenthood for women is made to look as the cool thing. Women who choose to remain single are projected as role models for women to follow and emulate. 498a is a major fascination in family breaking since once this case is filed the chances of reconciliation are virtually reduced to zero. The media is not too much in favor of changing 498a  and families remaining united.

The way the issue is being projected  :- The way the articles on 498a amendment are projected all are very uncannily similar.

  1. The media knows that the majority of Indians would have this law changed , however the media still always manages to find and interview on those people who they know have a vested interest in keeping this law alive. The faces against amendment of Section 498a are all familiar faces and consist of mostly  female lawyers and some feminist NGO’s  naming whom in this blog will surely attract a defamation case against me. However it is common knowledge that 498a is the most major  source of revenue for the lawyers. Over 30% of all bail cases arise out of illegal arrests and detentions under section 498a and if this is removed it will be a big blow to the income of the lawyers, a majority of whose income arises out of bail cases.
  2. Media always “questions” the fact  if 498a needs to be changed. The articles always have a headline question the fact if a change is needed. If after countless court judgments, overwhelming misuse data, millions of extreme civil rights violations and Thousands of husbands suicides later the media still questions the fact if 498a really need to the changed, it shows an inherent bias and exposes the fact that the media is not happy that the law is changing.
  3. Suicides of Husbands and arrests of women almost find no coverage. The Media almost never fails to print the fear mongering and the lies that the feminist lawyers and some radical feminist NGO’s plant about Indian women becoming more inflammable than gasoline after they married and spontaneously catching fire anytime they are in their husband’s home, however it always conveniently ignores the fact that twice the number of husbands are driven t0 suicide as compared to wives, which is coming from the Ministry of Home affairs. The Husband data is conveniently brushed as economic reasons and the wives suicides are even more conveniently brushed put under the dowry death header. If the husband can commit suicide due to economic reasons why can’t the wife also commit suicide due to economical reason. Does not the wife have an equal responsibility as the husband to improve the economic status of the family failing which she can choose to kill herself , a logic frequently used to justify the suicides of husbands?However one never finds such arguments questioning the absurdity of the data collection and the suicide statistics in the media.
  4. The media knowingly plays into the hands of the feminists and projects spousal homicides as dowry deaths. This failed strategy of the feminists although has been dissected and thoroughly debunked many times since spousal homicide is already covered by laws like 304  and 304B which remain functional, the media continues to print it almost all its articles. The Media feels that  justifying the need for 498a by quoting murder and spousal homicide statistics will somehow play in their benefit. There are 1250 spousal homicides of women in United States (according to FBI) and 1882 dowry deaths (spousal homicides+coerced suicides) of women in India every year. Spousal homicides without dowry angle are also classified as dowry deaths. So Indian spousal homicides are far less than the US if taken as a % of the population showing that women are much safer in India than the US.
  5. The media is solely responsible for portraying the women as a victim theory leads which leads to female feticide in urban India. People are afraid due to this false propaganda that girls are unsafe as they grow where as boys never face any crime. The truth is, a boy has 24 times more chance than a girl to face crime as he grows up. No one is telling this to young urban parents, who believe only girls are vulnerable and hence try not to have more than one girl in the family. However in 498a coverage the women as a victim theory is again reinforced.

Conclusion :- The media and women’s organizations have a lot of money and that money being used these days to buy print space to attempt to change public opinion fight a desperate battle to prevent amendment of a law that has caused irreparable hard to millions of men and women alike and has been responsible for breaking the social fabric of a nation. However the media forgets the fact that the generation that is now most likely faces these cases gets its news from the internet and not the press and these people. Recently a journalist when shown the above facts of the media reacted violently calling us “bubblegum chewing youngsters”. The fact that bubble gum chewers can also chew on facts and data and mobilize such mass numbers to change a law that was once seemed the very essence of radical feminism and family destruction has gotten many people in a lot of industries into a lot of discomfort and the media is essentially one of them. 498a will change today or tomorrow and no one can stop that , because women will continue to misuse it in large numbers and resentment will only increase.

In this battle of good vs. evil  or lies and deception vs truth the path that the media chooses is what remains to be seen. Will the media choose to needlessly alienate itself from the public and contribute to family destruction by projecting biased and one-sided articles or remain on the side of the truth and project unbiased facts and figures and leave the public to draw its conclusions?