Monday, March 20, 2023
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Sushant Singh Rajput: How not to cover a death, starring, Aaj Tak, News Nation, ABP

A quick take on what prime time TV news talked about.

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New Delhi: Actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s sudden death by suicide was shocking enough, but Hindi news channels stooped to an all-time low while reporting his death. From sensational headlines with words such as ‘phaansi’ ( India TV), minute and unnecessary details of his death — like the colour of the cloth around his neck on Aaj Tak, and harassing his relatives for a byte (Aaj Tak, ABP News), showed exactly how such a tragic event should not be reported.

In possibly the worst performance since actor Sridevi’s death in 2018, when channels disturbingly ‘recreated’ her death with a virtual bathtub, several Hindi channels attempted to dissect Rajput’s death like a lab frog.

From the time the news first broke early afternoon of the tragic incident, the Hindi news channels suspended all other news coverage — and their sensibilities— to provide non-stop coverage on Sushant Singh Rajput’s life and death. Nothing was sacrosanct for them.

Some resorted to tonedeaf puns: On Zee News, anchors Sachin Arora and Aditi Tyagi invited panelists and asked, “Filmon ka Dhoni asal zindagi mein out kaise” (How can the reel life Dhoni got out in real life). Similarly, on Aaj Tak, Chitra Tripathi asked, “Sushant zindagi ki pitch par hit-wicket kaise ho gaye” (how did Sushant get ‘hit-wicket’ on life’s pitch).

The channel also analysed his Instagram posts to “find out” the reason behind his suicide. With melodramatic background scores and rhyming tag-lines such as ‘Sushant itne ashant kaise’ (how come Sushant was so restless), Aaj Tak’s coverage was straight out of C-grade films.

It was one of the first channels to reach Singh’s residence in Patna, and the reporter kept trying to get a comment from his father, who was clearly too shocked by grief to say anything. But the reporter was relentless.

ABP News went a step further, and kept watch outside the room where his father had retired after he fell unconscious. The reporter kept badgering Singh’s relatives, who were visibly teary-eyed and unable to respond.

India TV, Zee News led all the Hindi channels in asking again and again, “Kyun kia?” (why did he do it?) “Kya vajah thi?’’ (What was the reason?). A Zee News headline read, “Patna ka Sushant Mumbai mein fail kyun?’’. (Why did Patna’s Sushant fail in Mumbai).

The farcical ‘reporting’ continued on other channels as well. TV9 Bharatvarsh, in an attempt to be even more sensational, kept flashing its ‘BREAKING NEWS’, which was essentially one of Rajput’s relatives saying that he could not have committed suicide.

And just when you thought it could not get worse, channels like News Nation featured a picture of Rajput lying dead on his bed. This picture was being circulated on WhatsApp as well and many people, including actor Vikrant Massey, called the channel out for its despicable reportage.

It also felt free to speculate about his personal life and romantic relationships. On one such on screen-off screen romance, it said,`Love’s khichdi was being cooked here’’

English news channels were less sensational, but they also committed a series of mistakes.

CNN News 18 discussed the importance of mental health but kept displaying images of celebrities who died by suicide — why show their photographs?

Psychiatrist Dr. Avni Tiwari shed some light on the difficulty around seeking help, “Someone who is a celebrity is under the limelight so they find it difficult to visit a therapist or psychiatrist. But it is equally difficult for the layman to do the same.”

Director Nitish Krishna said, “They’ll be theories flying around right now and it is best to restrain oneself, we have to wait for a police investigation to throw light on what actually happened.”

On Times Now, film producer Mukesh Bhatt was allowed to speculate on the reasons for Rajput’s suicide and to declare that when he met him, years ago, he felt there was something wrong with him and that he could see this coming. Really, is he a clairvoyant?

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  1. It is just the right time to not watch such news and boycott these channels. The media system should be like Germany or any other country where a certain amount of money is debited from citizens account for Jouralism.

  2. It will make you happy to see star kids and karan and others but you font want to show about SSR…

  3. Pathetic. Shameless news channels.

    These channels are also run by emotionless people. Big investors handled such media channels. They don’t bother about emotions. They only believe in TRP,s.

    That’s why sensible people already boycott these news channels.

    Many of us still crying 💔

    And it was not suicide. It’s planned murder. I’m still crying while writing. I feel unsafe too for our new generation. Bollywood industry shameless. Pathetic.

  4. I happened to see an anchor forcing the on site reporter to get a reaction from relatives, even though the reporter kept saying that this is not the right time to speak with relatives. It’s those show producers/management who can stoop to any level to get their TRPs up in the rat race. There should be some government guidelines put in place to control this behaviour or this will continue as it is been going on.

  5. DISGUSTING!! The media is equally responsible. Don’t be so DESPRATE for GOD’s sake. He’s dead. Sharam khero!!

  6. Thanks God, i have stopped watching all these News channels that you have mentioned & its now more than one year i stopped!!!!!

  7. These news channels have lost all the sense n also they have became so insensitive..they just want is TRP.
    News channels should understand that their job is to provide “REAL NEWS” n not “SENSATIONAL NEWS”.

  8. Insensitive reporting.As far as discussions on the reasons..Why not?.Avoid insensitivity.Lot of skeletons of Bollywood will come out if proper thought is applied by channels.By the way showing dead bodies on TV started with Indira Gandhi assassination, for 3 days her body was on TV courtesy Doordarshan.There’s a difference between how Sushant’s body after death was shown,and Indira Gandhi Body shown on TV. Insensitivity continues.

  9. Agreed the reporting now a days has stooped all time low – there is no sancticity of human life and no respect shown to his death.
    However Print, Telegram also needs to introspect how clean it is on reporting news. I have always found its articles to be highly biased and supporting a particular ideology. This media house is also quite good at sensationalizing news and presenting twisted facts. So be it aaj tak or print they all are just different faces of the same demon.

  10. Desh k jawan Seema pe jaan de raha corona se log zindagi maut ki ladai rahe kuch na shukhre log apni jaan de rahe aur pagal public unke liye ro rahe

  11. We as citizens should not be helpless ,we must use our choices ,we must respond by stopping watching such filthy channels , for humanity s sake stop sitting Infront of TV like an idiot.
    Do something else

  12. People’s should know details there is nothing wrong in it people’s like you are accusing this channels Why don’t you accuse NDTV as the journalist seems to be the Secularism state Spreading the false propaganda about the news channel

  13. News channels burried sentiment of culture’s and sensationalism the grief and sorrow moments for their TRP only.

    There must be some statutory regulations.

  14. These presstitutes are real vultures which Tushar Mehata was quoting to the SC ,which he wrongly reffered to the social media journalists.who don’t work for profit but these prostitutes do He may correct his mistake.

  15. Not shocking at all !!!
    Sensationalism & news media have long been passionate bed-fellows……after , almost, 3- months they finally chanced upon a “news” sensational enough to garner trp’s & grab eyeballs, so they went after it like a bunch of blood- thirsty hounds.
    Tomorrow, this ALL will be forgotten. Sushant singh’s
    case will be religated to the blink-&-you miss scroll news report at the bottom of the screen.
    And, meanwhile These brainless zombies of newsmen & women will be back In their respective studio’s reporting about …….corona tally !!!!

  16. Who gave these news channels the permission to spread such baseless speculations and creating mockery of the suicide instead of mourning about the fact that we have lost such a great actor. Have they become so heartless!! When the actor was alive were they the ones who supported him when he was going through an ordeal?? The least we could do is avoid false speculations and hurt his image.

  17. Today we don’t have a single news channel who has sense to perform what needs to be. All are garbage and just garbage.

  18. These channels should be sued. Please don’t watch them?! Imagine if this was some one from your family

  19. Will they show all such details with same attitude if owners of these channels or their relatives or news anchors or their relatives dies. These channels should be penalised if not.

  20. Unfortunately, many Indians, in the present case the authors and their supporters, suffer from slave mentality even after so many years- slave of British & English, they will criticize Hindi media as they are unable understand Hindi. How shameful, they use English to berate mother tongue

  21. I think there is a need to go back to those days when tv programs were aired between 6.00 to 11.00 p.m. This would ensure that only quality programs and coverage takes place. Otherwise, these insensivities would continue. In the name of freedom, the media has stooped at its lowest

  22. While I agree with most of your views here on the reckless and insensitive media reporting that’s rampant.
    But how exactly does your final comment “is he a clairvoyant?” fit in this? That’s his view and you report it!; but why derive your own assumptions and deduce your own analogies?? Is this ethical reporting? Are you Mr./Ms. Know-it-all?

    Maybe it’s time for all the media people to start representing people views and work for making societies better. Stop sensationalism and stop feeding on other’s miseries.

    • Yes they’re pathetic people
      One of the titles was”to issliye Sushant nai suicide kia”
      I wish they do not have to go through same thing
      They were mentioning colour of the cloth, how disgusting
      It’s so difficult to understand how all this would have been hurting and affecting the family members
      Yes during Sri Devi death they were showing it with bath tub picture
      Have some dignity

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