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New Delhi - Indian police said Saturday they had filed a case against a cable news channel for airing an interview with the boyfriend of a woman whose gang-rape and murder has spurred protests across the country.
A criminal case was registered late on Friday against Hindi-language Zee News channel over the footage, which police said would lead to the identification of the victim in breach of a law entitling her to anonymity.
The interview showed the boyfriend's face unobscured as he recalled the horrific incident on the night of December 16 when the couple took a private bus to return home from a cinema in south Delhi.
Once in the bus, he was attacked and his 23-year-old girlfriend was allegedly gang-raped by the driver and five others who also violated her with an iron bar causing immense internal damage that led to her death last weekend.
“We have filed a case against Zee News under section 228 A of the Indian Penal Code which deals with disclosing the identity of victims of offences such as rape,” police spokesman Rajan Bhagat told AFP.
Indian law does not allow the naming of rape victims without permission from the victim or family members and showing the boyfriend without obscuring his face could be judged to have revealed her identity.
The boyfriend levelled harsh criticism at the police for arriving late at the scene and then delaying taking the couple to hospital while they argued over which police station should take responsibility for the crime.
AFP also interviewed the man and - like Zee News - did not name him.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called on authorities not to press charges against Zee News.
“This is an instance of greatly misplaced priorities,” Bob Dietz, CPJ's Asia program coordinator, said in a statement.
“Authorities are hardly protecting the victim's rights by retaliating against news media that are bringing to light details of the horrific crime that claimed her life.”
Zee News faces a separate court case in which it is accused of trying to extort money from a lawmaker.
Zee reporters were accused by Naveen Jindal of offering to drop a potentially damaging story in exchange for one billion rupees ($18 million). - Sapa-AFP