DAWN Publishes a Picture of an Underage Rape Victim and Apologizes

I do not know if any of you noticed yesterdays Dawn newspaper [27th March] page 4 – which showed a picture of a 17-year old [underage] Tharparker rape victim. Its possible many may be aware of her, a local political leader from Tharparker had gang raped her on 24th January and since then she has been screaming for justice, this case has become the talk of the town in Interior Sindh but has failed to capture the fascination of the nationwide electronic and print media. Dawn did in some may have tried to help bring attention to the cause but it went a bit overboard, choosing to publish her picture and name sitting in front of Hyderabad Press Club – practically raping her all over again, and now in public – instead of protecting her even more, they go all out publishing her name and picture but did not so much as even bother to publish the name of the political leader who gang raped her in Tharparker

The issue at Dawn seemingly continues to get worse barely a month back I protested Dawn Raping the Rape Victim where they explicitly named the 20-yr old Daweoo rape victim along with some explicit details on how the rape was done, my argument even then was that if the victim had the courage to come forth to the media, they have taken a very bold step choosing to stand up against their perpetrators publicly, it is mostly seen as a last ditch effort to get some justice from an heinously skewed system that protects the powerful, and when they do, newspapers and the electronic media exploit the victim by publishing explicit details and in a way not actually helping bring the perpetrators to justice.

Sadly its a problem within our society where rape victims are subjugated to so much of external trauma after the crime itself victims don’t dare defame themselves even further by coming out in publicly. Why is it that victims of the White Corolla in Karachi did not have the courage to come forward, they could probably not bear to stand the added stigma and assault that would have been inflicted on them once their names become public, as Faisal rightly said “why do we call it Veena Hayat case, why do we call it as Dr. Shazia Case, why could they have not have been referred to as “Irfan Marwat Case” or in Dr. Shazia’s situation – “Captain Hammad Case” – it just would have pressurized the culprits more instead of putting more undue pressure on the victim. I believe the point should have been to focus on the case itself and focusing the effort of defaming the criminals, if you consider the lameness of our society in accepting the fact that its not the victim who lost her honor its actually the criminal who lost his all bit of respect. ”

Leveraging the media is important tool in helping these women get justice but there must be some degree of responsibility, I believe womens group activists, WAR and other human rights activists need to come together with media personalities to discuss, educate and empower them with good standards with the hope that the system can come together when needed to hep the victims working to – Defame the criminal but protecting the victim

I am glad to update you that on Saturday I wrote to the Editor of Dawn Mr Abass Nasir, and he was quick to respond with a very courtesos apology and followed through with the publication of a shortened version of my letter to him, and their apology.

The publication of the picture was a mistake. We apologise to the rape survivor and regret the error. — Editor

I must appreciate Abbas Nasir and the Dawn editorial team for attempting to correct the mistake, maybe its time to ensure that such a mistake is not repeated again, not only in Dawn but as well as in other print and electronic media outlets. Lets truly work hand-in-hand to try and protect the victims but do our damnedest to root this heinous crime behind bars



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20 responses to “DAWN Publishes a Picture of an Underage Rape Victim and Apologizes”

  1. Irum Avatar

    Very well pointed out!..Totally agree.

  2. khalid humayun Avatar

    Kudos to Teethmaestro for pointing out the unprofessional and unethical conduct of daily Dawn management. But was that enough? Something that does not enter into my mind is haunting me very badly. If the ill-fated victim and her relatives were protesting before Press Club and they were telling the story where were media men? In search of story they would even climb up the mount Everest, but the story itself had reached their doorsteps. If Police is guilty of giving cover to perpetrators, media is equally guilty for the same. Is it necessary that on each and every case (or mis-case)Chief Justice should take suo moto.

    Talking of Dr. Shazia Khalid brutal rape, you have spoken the half truth again. Dr. Shahid Masood and Mohsin Baig, arrived all the way from Islamabad to Karachi and met the poor couple and advised them that they better leave the country within "24 hours" as "their lifes are not safe for even one day". Who are Dr. Shahid Masood and Mohsin Baig? Are not they media men? Five years of this brutal rape has gone by and not a single word from these two gentlemen!

    1. Nazia Avatar

      Dr shazia was victim of army officers hooliganism in civilian set up .In this particular case an interesting thing happened that president of Pakistan who was military chief too openly announced in front of press that army man was innocent .He even blamed civilian Pakistani women that they can opt for such rape propaganda for foreign nationality.

      I am sure if he was not ruthless ruler of Pakistan then he might used this sharp ideal for his daughter for getting foreign nationality.

      He was forgetting that for last years record number of army officers wives and kids were attacked, raped and sometimes killed by their provided Batmen .

      In army courts they take a month to hang this man or in case of avoiding publicity even removed the crimnal form the scene, nobody knows where.So I think dr shahid tried his best to save that lady from wrath of uniform men which usually spill on locals.

      It is the media which raised the status of muktharn mai or echo of balcohi women killing were heard through wires otherwise no local has a courage to speak against characterless but strong icon of states.

  3. dr jawwad khan Avatar

    Actually it is not the problem of professionalism…it is the inherent character begotten due to liberal ideology and mindset. Professionally the DAWN is acquianted very well about the norms and odds of journalism. what these creature couldn't resist is their appetite to exaggerate their favourite tragic situations to create certain kinds of disgut and to counter this disgust they offer a fascination by depicting a eutopia(America and Europe) through news and article.

    232,960 women were raped in USA only in one year(2006) it makes more than 600 women per day.Did you see any hue and cry in America? did any of these liberal asses tell you about this?

  4. Nadir El Edroos Avatar
    Nadir El Edroos

    Dr Khan, respectfully, how does putting another country down and highlithing events in that country make our country any better or provide justice and support to victims in our country? Whether there mindset is messed up, again offers them an excuse not to change their behaviour. as long as people, who buy their newspapers dont complain, the behaviour of journalists is not going to change.

  5. Muhammad Shemyal Nis Avatar
    Muhammad Shemyal Nis

    very rightly pointed out by the author

  6. Muhammad Shemyal Nis Avatar
    Muhammad Shemyal Nis

    @ Nadir

    I totally agree with you. Even if happens in America a thousand times more. What should concern us is our own country. Plus if rape happens it America the victims do also get justice later. Something quiet unheard of here.

  7. dr jawwad khan Avatar

    @Nadir El Edroos,

    its not about reporting its about use of the issue as a tool for social engineering.

    Rape in America is not my concern niether it could be the concern of pakistanis……my concern is picking these kinds of issues and create a storm in a teacup just to assure how bad we are.

    My concern is when majority of liberal use these kinds of crimes as an excuse to attack on Islam and traditional muslim society who does not believe in any kind of crime against women.

    and listen the talk shows on this issue. This issue always hijacked by feminist and women rights organization and listen the solution they offer…the message invariably they give is like:

    "in Pakistan women are raped just because we are backward society and women are third degree citizen,women should come farward for their rights, women should be dependent of men,women should work and move freely in the society"

    right but what about giving the justice to the victim of rape and punish the criminal?

    Also this issue is always so exaggerated by some of our media factions that it doesn't look like a problem and sounds like a chant or political slogan.

  8. Nazia Avatar


    some people, some group and some time victims specially from poor background want to get projection.Revenge and earning money through blackmailing are few reasons behind such negative show off.

    Women of lower class specially working as maids in houses are mostly found in such hue and cry when male members of families refused them and opt for other young and latest options for their filthy part time hobbies.

    In last day a young seven year age boy was repeatedly being shown on few tv channels with charges that he was trying to rape the 3 year old girl.

    So it is not part of liberal ideology but might be misconception or out of conception of any mind who cant judge the limit of his/her professional duties.

    why you mostly target Dawn only in your lines?

  9. Asim Saleem Avatar
    Asim Saleem

    Dear Teeth….

    I think you are also pretty much promoting the issue to make the girl Bechari….cant u name the leader of Tharparkar….Who is he actually?

  10. jibran Avatar

    IT IS A BIG ISSUE and in this case I would support media, at the same time I wouldn't support them publishing the picture of the victim.

    Our press and our police are ignorant bastartds. When they catch people accused of dakaity and other crimes and even after the judiciary has sentenced them, their pictures appear with hooded faces and now this poor girl (a victim) who shouldn't have to be photographed…..

    Teetho, why don't you publish the picture of the culprit(s) along with his hame and let us CURSE him.

  11. MB Avatar

    While DAWN's performance is better than others in this regard, here in this particular case they lost the road i guess.

    Well pointed out

  12. MB Avatar

    by the way very well said by Faisal & i copy :

    [ . . . as Faisal rightly said “why do we call it Veena Hayat case, why do we call it as Dr. Shazia Case, why could they have not have been referred to as “Irfan Marwat Case” or in Dr. Shazia’s situation – “Captain Hammad Case” – it just would have pressurized the culprits more instead of putting more undue pressure on the victim. I believe the point should have been to focus on the case itself and focusing the effort of defaming the criminals, if you consider the lameness of our society in accepting the fact that its not the victim who lost her honor its actually the criminal who lost his all bit of respect. ” ]

  13. HSY Avatar

    Why not publish the photos of the rapists or even name them? Dawn is usually terrified of law suits and legal issues. I was the victim of a well known politician in Karachi who had his 15 guards assault me in the middle of the road because of HIS MISTAKE while driving. I had witnesses and injuries but Dawn refused to publish the name of the aggressor, but exerted a great deal of pressure on me to provide my full details…which I then refused since I am the only being being exposed and left out in the open. Dawn should avoid putting the onus on the victims.

    1. Teeth Maestro Avatar

      Good point – and I think you made the right move not to fall for their trap – it seems in an attempt to "get the story" they tend to do more harm

  14. Mansoor Khalid Avatar
    Mansoor Khalid

    In our society, anonymity while reporting rape cases is not only essential but a core requirement because the news won’t finish in a week or so, it will go on with the victim for a lifetime. If it’s a woman, she will have huge trouble in carrying her life forward or even trying to restart it.

  15. sy lodhi Avatar
    sy lodhi

    Its all about making money. rape stories sell. images sell. and dawn is a money minting machine like the rest. aim is –to keep up facade of righteousness and sell, sell, sell. media is selling half porn on TV channels, FMs selling myriad songs of immorality and then we expect morality from the powerful? or the children who watch these images.

    GOOD JOB TEETH. Sure your Teeth are not only cosmetic but have a bite also.

    The least we can do is to expose madia sycophants thru Blogs.

    Some one please post foto of the rapist–if available. we must post addresses, fotos of criminals, and yes name the cases by name of the criminal and not the victim.

  16. readinglord Avatar

    And has become of Mukhtaran Mai's alleged rape. She has encashed it well and now rests satisfied after marriage with Gabol. But what has become of those poor Mastoies, the victim of CJ Iftikhar Choudhari's suo mottu, who are perhaps languishing in jail for over 4 years, despite having been acquitted by the Multan High Court. What a scandalous justice play it was initiated by that satanic Kristof of the Newyark Times.

  17. dr jawwad khan Avatar

    I agree with – – – -inglord.

    infact he is the guy who shared a reasonable perspective of the other side.

  18. readinglord Avatar

    A correction in my post at #16:

    Please add 'what' after 'And' in the start.

    #17 by dr Jawwad Khan

    Thank you for your kind comment.

    I wonder why the people are becoming so feministic. It is perhaps because people see women only as mothers, sisters and good wives but forget that they can also be whores and rebellious wives.