“In this country, we consider the rights of the press to be of such level, the eminence that we do not want to curtail them. No statute can curtail them. That does not mean there is complete lawlessness. There is self-regulation which the press must have.” -Supreme Court judge Justice Uday U Lalit
Unfortunately, Bollywood actor and television star, Sushant Singh Rajput, was found dead at his Bandra residence in Mumbai on June 14. A month after the actor was found dead in his flat in Mumbai’s Bandra, Sushant Singh Rajput’s father KK Singh lodged a complaint against actress Rhea Chakraborty at a police station in Patna. The FIR was registered under various sections, including abetment of suicide. KK Singh also accused Rhea of extorting money from Sushant on the pretext of love.
Thereafter, Rhea Chakraborty filed a petition in Supreme Court, seeking the transfer of an FIR from Patna to Mumbai and the Apex Court orders Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) probe into the allegations made by the family of late Bollywood actor.
In a 35-page order, the Hon’ble Supreme Court said that the actor Sushant Singh Rajput was a talented actor in the Mumbai film world and died well before his full potential could be realized. His family, friends and admirers are keenly awaiting the outcome of the investigation so that all the speculations floating around can be put to rest. Therefore a fair, competent and impartial investigation is the need of the hour.
Since more than two months, although no officials statements are coming from the side of investigating agency, the mainstream media is conducting a media trial since the very next day of unfortunate unnatural death of SSR.
Mainstream media is claiming that SSR was murdered by someone and #ArrestRheaChakraborty is trending in social media. No doubt that the nation wants to know the truth in SSR case and therefore, citizens and the fans of SSR were demanding a CBI probe but when CBI is conducting investigation and Rhea Chakraborty is supporting the investigation process as a law-abiding citizen, then targeting her with the sole purpose of defaming her and derogating her reputation is questionable.
People were shocked and surprised when some media channels crossed certain limits. This insensitive reportage and sensationalisation of SSR’s death and reportage regarding the relationship between SSR and Rhea Chakraborty for TRP is immoral, illegal and inappropriate.
Rhea Chakraborty is saying that she has nothing do with the allegations made by SSR’s family and no one wants to believe her statements. But, we need to wait for the result of the investigation. We cannot conduct a parallel trial only on the basis of FIR.
The responsibility of media is to show news but that is not what present media is doing in SSR’s case. Media is firm and has already declared that Rhea Chakraborty is responsible for the death of SSR and this stand of media is dangerous. Even though Rhea Chakraborty is accused, it does not mean that she is responsible for his death or that she has any role in the present case.
Everyone is discussing #JusticeForSSR but no one is willing to talk about the middle-class family who is watching news reports about their family and daughter. The news reports about Rhea Chakraborty and her family are cruel. In an era of awareness of mental ill-health, whether these kind of reporting, propaganda and media trial are justifiable or not should be questioned.
We have to understand that presumption of innocence is in favour of the accused in a criminal case but media is conducting a media trial with the object of punishing her on the assumption of her guilt.
The allegations raised by the father of SSR need to be established during the trial. By conducting a media trial and publishing news reports, the media is trying to influence the investigation process. The intention and motive of media during reporting the investigation of the SSR’s case is beyond the prescribed role of media. It appears that they are deliberately targeting Rhea Chakraborty and her family.
It is important to understand that the consequences of media trial are grave. It is qually important to realise that the burden of this media trial falls heavily on the members of her family.
Irrespective of the fact that Rhea Chakraborty is an accused in the present case, we cannot forget the fact that she also has her fundamental rights and other rights and at this point of time when she is supporting investigation process, we should not believe every allegation made by the family of SSR. While making an attempt to fight for #JusticeforSSR.
The question is this: Why are we not realising that our unfair media trails might affect people who are still with us and their families. It’s harassment of the accused. Let’s wait for a fair, competent and impartial investigation.