Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Alistair Pereira - Yet another trial by Media

A local court had sentenced Alistair Pereira to 6 months' imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 5 Lakhs. What happened the same day, in the subsequent days was that the media rabidly started to tom-tom how a 'murderer' has gotten away with such a light punishment. The media also said that the 'murdered' people deserve justice, the ones that Alistair's car ran over. Yet again, in its efforts to sensationalise, the media completely missed the point. And so has the High Court that has taken Suo Motu cognizance of the matter, by giving in to the media's rhetoric.

Alistair Pereira is an irresponsible wretch who deserves to be punished for drunken driving. But to call him a murderer is not right. Agreed, that when one drinks and drives one's senses are not in place and that could lead to catastrophy on the roads, but then Alistair didn't drive out with the intention of murdering people. I hate to say this, but the people that were run over were also to blame for this.

A footpath is not meant for dwelling. If one dwells or sleeps there, it is illegal use of public property. They had no job sleeping there when the irresponsible Alistair lost control of his car. Let's imagine a different scenario. A person who has not consumed any alcohol is driving back from work. His tyres burst because they run over some nails on the road and his car swerves towards the footpath where a few people are illegally dwelling. His car runs over a few people. Do we fault this person and call him a murderer too? Who is to blame here? The driver or the illegal occupants?

Alistair's crime was that he was drinking and driving. His crime isn't murder. Its human nature to attack soft targets, and the media is doing just that. Howcome the media is not taking up cudgels against Salman Khan? Even he has committed the same offence, and some greater offences. And that too when he was nearly 40. Years have passed on and we hear nothing about that case except for the fact that Salman Khan is being tried out for killing other innocent animals and is still out despite a sentence being given to him. Why doesn't the media rake up these stories? Salman Khan is a murderer, who used his gun on endangered animals and also got drunk and drove over some people, killing one in the process. The media still glorifies this person.

Alistair needs to be punished. But not tried for murder. His crime was that he was drinking and driving. Nothing more than that. This was one case when the media could have really done something constructive by promoting road safety and by getting the Govt. to form stricter road safety norms. The fault of the system is far more than Alistair's but when we all have a scapegoat, its easy to make him a sacrificial lamb and wash our hands off things that would impact road safety in a positive way. Once the media is free from its important work like covering an Aishwarya wedding or Elizabeth Hurley wedding, it can try and take up some stories that will help the citizens of this nation. And Alistair being called a murderer is setting a bad precedent. We are only legalising illegal dwelling by demanding compensation for the victims. Its sad, but true, that the unfortunate people who lost their lives were only bringing it upon themselves.


rlyfriends said...

media targeted salman more than Perera.

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