The India vs South Africa ODI in Cape Town saw the host broadcaster Supersport show Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma’s kid Vamika for the first time but the media was irresponsible in many ways.
When Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma were blessed with their daughter Vamika in January 2021, the couple had requested a very simple thing. They had requested the Paparrazi to respect the kid’s privacy and not share her photos. They had released a statement stating, “We seek privacy for our child and would like to do our best to give her a chance to live her life freely away from media and social media. As she is older, we cannot restrict her movement, and hence your support is needed so kindly practice (refrain) in the matter.”
For a year, this was adhered to. But, the peace was spectacularly broken in the final ODI against South Africa in Cape Town. The host broadcaster, Supersport panned to Anushka Sharma holding Vamika. For the first time, Vamika’s face was revealed to the world. There were many people who shared the photo on their social media. Even mainstream media shared the photo.
While Supersport clearly seems to have breached the privacy that Kohli and Anushka had demanded, the rest of the media in India and elsewhere are playing a double game. They first posted an article about Vamika’s face going viral. Then, in cleverly trying to whitewash their mistake, they carried it with an angle stating that fans are outraged and are demanding that the photo be removed.
In the case of the media, they are baking the cake and having it too. Having irresponsibly shared the images, they now want to portray the fan outrage in a clever way of balance. But, they have achieved what they wanted. They got over 100,000 plus engagement on their social media platforms. Their numbers shot through the roof in Google Analytics.
South Africa’s broadcasters, in a very dark way, have once again done the unthinkable. Sachin Tendulkar was ‘caught’ trying to ‘tamper the ball’ in Port Elizabeth 2001. They even caught Cameron Bancroft applying sandpaper to tamper the ball in Newlands in 2018. Now, they have managed to capture Vamika. In one case, there was massive appreciation. In the other two, there has been outrage.
The opinions are divided on social media. Under the pressure of numbers, media are forced to publish these lines. That is the nature of the beast here in India. But, it also begs the question as to whether Supersport actually did the right thing or not. A stadium and the ground can be extensively captured on video by the host broadcaster. That is their job.
In normal times, fans are caught candidly on camera cheering for the team. They also focus the sadness and other emotions. Apart from the action on the field, these off-field visuals also make for gripping viewing. When Virat Kohli scored his fifty in Newlands, he dedicated it to his daughter who turned one year old.
But, one can actually call it an Act of Providence. Anushka was obviously cheering the milestone so it is obvious that the camera will pan to her. What did not go according to plan was that Anushka was holding Vamika in such a way that the kid’s face was visible on camera. Thus, Supersport just could not escape that moment. It just happened.
Now, fanatics will obviously want to hold the high moral ground. That is what fan groups do. It is once again the question of priority. What is important? Respecting people’s privacy or numbers and eyeballs? In this case, as is the case of the media system in India, it is always messed-up numbers and eyeballs. Few that go against the grain will either be sidelined or be fired. That is how the media system is.
DISCLAIMER: Sportslumo has not done any article in which Vamika’s photo is there. Neither is there an attempt to whitewash ‘viral’ content. Opinions expressed by the author are personal.