India's leading newspapers latched onto yesterday's sentencing of former Rutger's University student Dharun Ravi convicted of bias intimidation against college roommate Tyler Clementi. The Indian-born defendant, who used a webcam to spy on Clementi with another man shortly before Clementi killed himself, has stirred a complex debate inside India about gay rights and hate crimes legislation. Following the sentence of 30 days in jail, community service, and a fine, the Indian press is showing a more sympathetic tone toward Ravi than its U.S. counterpart.
In terms of coverage saturation, the country's leading newspapers, The Hindustan Times, The Economic Times, The Indian Express and TV network NDTV all carried the news. Noticeably, some of the papers seemed to emphasize the counter-arguments to Ravi's critics rather than the criticisms of Ravi—especially as it concerns his lack of apology and arguably light sentencing.
During the sentencing, the judge harangued Ravi for not showing enough remorse. "I haven’t heard you apologize once,” the judge said. The point was not lost on U.S. commentators. "I couldn’t help feeling powerfully frustrated and wondering if Ravi really carries as heavy a heart as he should," wrote The New York Times' Frank Bruni. In India's The Economic Times, Ravi's rationale for not apologizing played front and center.