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Harassing And Demeaning In The Name Of Justice

Since Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, the media’s narrative has shifted from mourning the actor to passing judgments against those assumed to be linked to his death. What picture of the Indian media does this paint? Read to find out. 

Since Sushant Singh Rajput’s death on 14th of June this year, there have been many statements,assumptions and declarations about the motive behind his suicide. Initially, his depression and mental health were seen as the cause. Later, the entirety bollywood was accused of practicing nepotism against outsiders like him. Within this claim, targeted personalities included Karan Johar, members of the Bhatt Family, Salman Khan and Ekta Kapoor etc. Several memes, disgusting videos and questionable statements like “chakka Johar” were thrown at those mentioned. 

Soon, Rhea Chakraborty was accused of abetting Sushant’s suicide by the late actor’s family and a case was registered against her on 28th July in Patna. Charges filed against her included abetment of suicide (Sec. 306 of IPV), cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property (Sec. 420 of IPC), theft in dwelling house (Sec. 380 of IPC) etc. After the case was filed against her, Rhea Chakraborty soon became the national topic of debate on mainstream news channels and of course, on social media. Rhea’s name became a daily feature newspaper articles, TV debates and social media posts. 

Are allegations against Rhea justified?

Besides other accusations, Rhea was alleged of being a Gold digger and practicing Black magic on the late actor. The assertions reached an extent where local Bhojpuri songs of  a clearly misogynistic nature began coming up. Several news channels conducted debates/revelations titled ‘Rhea ka sach’, ‘Sushant par Rhea ka kala jadu’. Others showed support for the late actor by shouting ‘Main bhi Sushant’ on their shows. Besides media debates, bollywood stars began showing support and asking for #justiceforssr. This included  Kangana Ranaut, Payal Rohatgi, Shekhar Suman among a few others. Kangana and Payal have made a series of videos on the late actor accusing, insulting and demeaning bollywood stars. Fans, influencers and several Youtubers came forward in his support, asking for justice and ultimately, the arrest of Rhea.

Did social media cross a line?

However, love for the actor and the demand for justice did not stop here. It went on to reach a darker and fearful extent. Memes about Rhea were coupled with offensive, cruel and misogynist comments against her such as ‘Daulat Sushant ki, aish Rhea khandan ki’. The internet brought up the actress’s old interviews, questioning the statements made by her. One among these featured Rhea talking about her aspirations titled ‘kya kehana chahenge aap log’.

What is worst among all these debates, allegations and speculations is the breach of Rhea’s privacy by mainstream television news channels. Private Whatsapp messages of the actress have been broadcasted for the public to see. What’s more, the media also openly put out Rhea’s personal phone number. 

This highlighted not only the ardent misogyny but also the lack of importance given to privacy in our society. 

Are we moving further away from ethical media?

On 6th September, videos and pictures of Rhea, while she was at the Narcotics Control Bureau Office came out. The pictures featured the actress surrounded by several media persons who were violating her personal space and ignoring social distancing just to broadcasting the media’s chosen topic of discussion.

Fighting for justice is one thing but harassing and demeaning in the name of Justice is another. Since the actor’s death, there has not been a single day, single hour and single minute where news channels have not talked about Sushant and his death. The media cannot announce speculative judgments. More importantly, burning issues of the nation are being blatantly ignored while many conduct their own investigation about the actor’s death. 

Image credit- PDPics on Pixabay

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