Delhi High Court lawyer Mohit Singh server a legal notice to India Today on Monday for spreading misinformation and insensitive coverage on Sushant Singh’s alleged suicide on 14 June.
The Actor’s unfortunate demise caused widespread coverage on social media and TV news. Aaj Tak, a hindi TV news channel, owned by India Today flashed a headline which compared the alleged suicide to a ‘Hit-wicket in cricket’. The headline read; “aise kaise Hit-wicket ho gaye Sushant?”.
The notice was sent to Chairman and Editor-in-chief of India Today Group Aroon Purie which states that with Hit-wicket analogy Aaj Tak has “insinuated that the death of Mr. Sushant by suicide, is equivalent to that of a batsman in cricket who breaks his own wicket”.
Singh further adds, “The careless use of such language portrays that the news channel, Aaj Tak, with its high viewership, has shed its responsibility towards the Indian masses”. He also called out the speculative reporting by the channel and normalizing the act of suicide.
Singh confirmed that the postmortem report of the actor hasn’t been released yet and the channel declared it to be suicide.
The notice demands an “unconditional public apology” by the channel which includes taking full responsibility of the blunder committed by Aaj Tak and explicitly telling the viewers that the death by suicide is “a mere comment`by the police”. Also the media house is expected to “retract” the statement they flashed.
Failing to act upon the demands put forth by Mr. Singh, the media house would face a legal action for defamation charges under IPC Section 499.
This is not the first time the Indian Media has exploited the death of an actor. In 2018, following the death of acclaimed Actor Sridevi, the media carried out speculative yellow journalism encapsulated in conspiracy theories besides the death being “accidental drowning”.
Sushant was found dead in his Mumbai residence on the Sunday afternoon. According to the police, his dead body was first discovered by his house help as he entered Sushant’s bedroom. The Actor who started his career with Television made his Hindi film debut with Kai Po Che (2013) and was last seen in Netflix film Drive. His last film will be Mukesh Chabbra’s directorial debut Dil Bechara, a hindi remake of The Fault In Our Stars, expected to be released on the streaming platform Disney+Hotstar.
Image Source – Newslaundry