Questions, questions, questions and more questions.
What is the truth about Sushant’s death? (CNN News18); Case covered up after murder? (Times Now); Sushant’s death ‘normal’? (Republic TV); Where did Rhea get her money? (CNN News18); What is the ‘sly girl’s’ source of income? (India TV); Who’s behind Rhea’s machinery? (Republic TV); Rhea and Sushant Singh Rajput went on Europe holiday — what changed after that? (India Today); Why is Mahesh Bhatt quiet? (Times Now)
NewsNation said there were thousands of questions related to Sushant Singh Rajput and Rhea Chakraborty.
Now it’s our turn to ask the questions. Here are five:
— Who will question the questioners?
— Who will question TV news anchors and reporters about the non-stop tabloid TV coverage of Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, which has now clocked almost three weeks?
— Who will question their motives behind the character assassination of so many individuals who may or may not have a role to play in what may or may not be Rajput’s death by suicide?
— Who will question their right to play the police, the prosecutor, judge, jury and `journalist’?
— Who will hold them accountable?
Oh, and yes, one more: ‘#JusticeForRajput’ is the popular hashtag on channels like Republic TV and Times Now. But who will bring the likes of them to justice for all the injustices they have committed in the name of ‘Breaking News’?
The coverage is an injustice
From the most trivial pursuit of Rhea Chakraborty’s apparent fondness for clothes to the most serious charge of murder, there is nothing that news channels have not ‘exposed’. And they don’t care whether they will be proved right or wrong, eventually. They just want an ‘Explosive Exclusive’, in Times Now’s inimitable phrase.
From the TV cameras peering into the ambulance that carried Sushant’s body to the fake autopsies; from examining the green cloth found hanging in his bedroom that day to the photographs of his bruised neck in order to ‘prove’ that he wasn’t hanging; from doctors speculating on his possible depression to excerpts from his WhatsApp messages; from discussing the film producers and directors he worked with or those who supposedly ignored him to his cook, his friends, his former manager, his former girlfriend; from his films contracts, his financial status to his personal letter to his family; from video clips of him in his films to reconstructions of his life and his holiday in Europe last year where he allegedly had “hallucinations” — in the name of giving him ‘justice’, the news channels have stripped him of everything but his skin.
Rhea Chakraborty has been subjected to the same scrutiny, except that in her case it has been entirely negative and one-sided. News channels have only reported against her. There is not even a pretence of being objective here.
Everyone the channels have interviewed has been asked leading questions to implicate Rhea Chakraborty and her family. Her bank accounts have been scrutinised threadbare, her call data records have been examined – where Times Now found the initials ‘AU’ and then innocently said that Aditya Thackeray’s name had come up in the Supreme Court hearing.
We have read her WhatsApp messages, heard the questions she was asked by the Enforcement Directorate, the parties she attended, the “honey trap” she laid for Sushant Rajput, how she alienated his affections from his family, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. News channels have snapped up every morsel of information they could obtain from Sushant’s bereaved family and flung it at us, hoping we will gulp it down, hungrily.
Sushant Rajput’s manager Disha Salian, who also was declared to have died by suicide, has been dragged into the controversy – despite her parents’ pleas to the media to let her rest in peace. No such luck. News channels have been doing everything they can to establish a link between Sushant’s death and hers. No RIP for her nor for Sushant.
Can the lawless be controlled?
We need to ask the news channels, the anchors and the reporters this: how did they gain access to call records, bank statements, post-mortem photographs, contracts, etc? Isn’t this an invasion of privacy? Isn’t it against the law? Are news channels allowed to name and defame anyone they choose to with impunity?
Can they simply look someone in the face and declare them depressed or not depressed? Can they conduct fake autopsies and decide the cause of death
Who will ask them these questions on behalf of decency, if nothing else? More significantly, who will answer for all that is being perpetrated in the name of news?
The unfortunate answer is no one.
And so the film hero, the ‘outsider’ who became a superstar surpassing expectations, has been reduced to a victim of Rhea Chakraborty, her ‘machinery’ by news channels chasing viewership ratings at any cost. Who’s next?
Views are personal.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.
You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.
We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And have just turned three.
At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is.
This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it.
If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous and questioning journalism. Please click on the link below. Your support will define ThePrint’s future.