The shameless media

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 By Snobar Khan

“If people in the media cannot decide whether they are in the business of reporting news or manufacturing propaganda, it is all the more important that the public understand that difference, and choose their news sources accordingly”.- Thomas Sowell

On Monday, an actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s last rites were held at the Pawan Hans crematorium in Mumbai.

Sushant Singh Rajput was found dead in his Mumbai residence on Sunday. Police said it was a suicide committed by actor Sushant

Indian news channels have made mockery of his death, caused by his mental illness. He was battling with depression for the six months and then his death. This is not hidden that under the current regime, the media is not following its ethics and reporting incidents shamelessly, whether they are about any celeb’s death or minorities of the country, especially Muslims.

According to Thomas Sowell, an American economist and social theorist, if  people in the media cannot decide whether they are in the business of reporting news or manufacturing propaganda, it is all the more important that the public understand that difference, and choose their news sources accordingly.

Here, his statement is right but what about those people who did already decide that they are in the media just for manufacturing propagandas. And it is true, those people are in majority in the news media industry. What news channels did with Sushant Singh Rajput’s death is not new for new India.

The same shameless reporting, media have done in the case of Sridevi’s sudden and tragic death in 2018.

There was a viral facebook Post, which had claimed that Sridevi’s death was caused by cardiac arrest. But later, reports rubbished the claims of cardiac arrest and declared that Sridevi’s death was caused by drowning and that her body contained traces of alcohol.

After releasing these reports, the so-called glamorous news anchors started making her death’s mockery on their prime time shows.

A Hindi news channel Aaj Tak tried its best to be scandalous by recreating the scene of Sridevi’s death, with the bathtub reading Maut ka Bathtub (Bathtub of death). ABP News Channel added a red wine glass on the Bathtub with Sridevi’s portrait.

And the Mahaa Telugu news channel made a most shameful indecent mockery of her death by standing its one of the reporters in a bathtub and trying to demonstrate that there was a no way she could have drowned in it, even if she’d been lying down.

These channels have already decided to shun all the shame and ethics while reporting the incidents.

Indian media made sridevi’s private life public fodder by reporting her death in such an indecent way in 2018.

And now, an another celeb late Sushant Singh Rajput came under the unconscious and immoral news reporters of today India.

A reporter from the Aaj Tak news channel, visited Sushant’s patna home where he asked Sushant’s father that how do they feel and other similar questions. In times of grief, the media visiting and asking questions and talking about his tragic death to his  father, who was already in shock of Sushant’s sudden death, was right? Was this  a right way of doing journalism? Is this what they have learnt in their industry?

Aaj Tak came with the headline “kaise hit wicket hogye Sushant”, compared his death to a “hit wicket” while the Zee news has shown on his screen,

“Patna ka Sushant Mumbai mein fail kyu” (Why Patna’s Sushant failed in Mumbai?)

I am wonder, how could they call them journalists? In my eyes they are not even human beings. They have no humanity. They can do anything just for gaining so-called TRPs.

They have played with the sentiments of Sushant’s loved ones.  These news channels did a very shameless job yesterday and also did not care of  Sushant’s right to dignity.

Right to dignity had already been extended even after the death of the person. It has been held by the honourable Supreme Court that right to dignity and fair treatment is not confined to the living man but also his dead body in Paramanand Katara v Union of India.

In case where someone has died by suicide, they do not publish too much information about how they died. But Indian media have made mockery of his death by showing indecent headlines in so-called filmy style and also publishing Sushant’s disturbing picture after his death.

Now, a day later of publication of his disturbing pictures, the nodal agency of crime investigation in Maharashtra warded netizens for circulating those pictures.

After violating someone’s right to privacy and playing with his parents’ emotions and sentiments, now, it emphasised that circulation of such pictures is liable to invite legal action as it is violative of legal guidelines and court directions. What’s wrong with our system?

An advocate has served a defamation notice to the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of the India Today Group over the insensitive reportage of the channel.

Delhi High Court advocate Mohit Singh has served a legal notice which takes issues with the channel’s comments. Speaking about the “hit wicket” comment the publication quoted the notice to say that “AajTak has insinuated that the death of Mr. Sushant by suicide, is equivalent to that of a batsman in cricket who breaks his own wicket with his bat or any part of his person while playing the ball or setting off for a run”.

“The words used, carry the imputation that the act of committing suicide is an act of cowardice and is one to be looked down upon,” the notice adds. The notice has reportedly sought a retraction of the offensive statements and an unconditional apology from the channel.

Few months ago, the Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind – one of the leading Islamic organisations has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court, to prevent the communalisation of the Nizamuddin Markaz issue by certain sections of news media.

The organisation has sought a direction from the SC to the Centre and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, to stop dissemination of fake news and take strict action against those sections of the media which spread bigotry and communal hatred. But no action has been taken against those news platforms yet.

The top court quashed all FIRs, which were filed against Republic TV anchor Arnab Goswami, for inciting communal hatred over the Palghar lynching incident and making defamatory statements against Congress president Sonia Gandhi. And it also extended protection to the editor-in-chief of Republic TV from any coercive actions.

The Supreme Court said in its judgment, “the Right to Freedom of Press is a part of Article 19(1) (a) of the Indian Constitution, which defines the Fundamental Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression. The right of speech and expression of journalists are similar to those granted to any another citizen”.

For those journalists who have been inciting hatred through their news platforms have a right to speech and expression under article 19 (1) a of the constitution but for those who are trying to express themselves by using this right, have no right in the eyes of the court of justice?

A legal action should be awarded to all of those news platforms who have been doing their best for killing journalism but it seems to be impossible under the current regime.

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