Death Or Circus: What Is Wrong With News TV Channels?

There was a time when journalists were respected members of society. Now, everything has changed because of the way most journalists report various incidents. They are masquerading themselves as journalists. In reality, they are running selective content, propaganda and peddling fake news.

A recent incident of media reporting on Sushant’s demise has sparked outrage on social media. In some hours since the news broke, media channels started their coverage of every minute. While his family was still in a state of shock, news channel India Today (Aaj Tak) has reached his hometown in Patna to get a statement. The visual of pestering his father to react to his son’s death is an example of insensitive reporting.

Insensitive Headlines And Information

What’s more terrible and disappointing is the sensational TV headlines. Aaj Tak reported, “aise kaise hit wicket ho gaye sushant”, Zee News reported “Patna ka Sushant Mumbai mein fail kyun”. These headlines even violate the reporting guidelines on suicide given by the Press Council of India (PCI).

Death Or Circus: What Is Wrong With News TV Channels
Death Or Circus: What Is Wrong With News TV Channels

Few channels have also reported unnecessary details about his death such as the colour of the cloth, timing and whatnot. They don’t realise this is not a scene from daily soap. Reporters even harassed family members of Sushant who were too distressed to comment.

If this was not enough, NewsNation flashed a picture of Sushant Singh Rajput lying dead on his bed. After that, people shared that image on social media without even thinking twice. For now, a case has been filed against India Today group for their insensitive reporting.

Guidelines On Suicide Reporting By PCI

According to the guidelines on suicide reporting provided by the Press Council Of India (PCI), some things are to be avoided:

  • Sensational headlines
  • Photographs, video footage
  • The language which sensationalize suicide, or presents it as a solution to problems
  • Suicide Method
  • Details about the location

News channels left nothing and did everything. Such irresponsible reporting. This is not the first time media stoop to a new low. In 2018, reporting of Sridevi’s death was criticised by all. Few channels had created visuals with ‘bathtub’ to show how she must have died.

Game Of TRP

There’s a race among India TV channels to be at the top every time. They keep looking for a way to increase their TRP. Now, News is not there, if something has been left, it’s TRP.

For some sections of the media, Rajput’s death seemed to be a way to increase TRPs. In fact full packages about his death only show how insensitive our media is. Now, the media industry has become an area where clickbait things work and media channels working with principles have lost somewhere. The audience likes masala, which is evident. Keeping a viewer informed is the responsibility of media channels, but not at the cost of sensationalizing anybody’s death. It’s prime time media should change their way or people should stop watching these channels.