Sushant Singh’s death: Aaj Tak, Zee News, others ordered to air apologies for insensitive reporting

The News Broadcasting Standards Authority has directed electronic news channels, Aaj Tak, Zee News, News 24 and India TV to comply with its Order to air an apology for insensitive reporting and sensationalizing the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

The Authority had found them in violation of its Specific Guidelines vide order dated October 6, 2020, and had asked them to apologize in public, for the same. It was intimated that the text, date and time of the apology will be given to the broadcasters, Livelaw.in reported.

Now, the NBSA has directed:

1. Aaj Tak to air an apology on October 27 at 8 PM and to pay a fine of Rs. 1 Lakh for attributing fake tweets to the late actor and reporting them as his last tweets.

Allegedly, Aaj Tak falsely reported on the fake tweets stating that Rajput posted three tweets which he later deleted on June 14, 2020, hours before his death, however, the channel later deleted the tweets and took down the article.

Taking serious note of the same, the authority had said: “the broadcaster should have conducted its due diligence and verification prior to telecasting/uploading the tweets and not subsequently, which due diligence is a basic tenet and requirement of journalistic ethics and telecasting the tweets without verification had the tendency of spreading misinformation amongst the public.”

2. Zee News, India TV and News 24 to air apologies for insensitive reporting of death of the late actor.

Zee News has also been asked to air a public apology on October 27 for sensationalising the actor’s death (by running insensitive Tag Lines).

3. India TV to air public apology on October 27 for showing the late actor’s body.

The authority found India TV to be in “egregious violation” of the NBSA Guidelines inasmuch as it repeatedly described in detail the colour of the lips of the body and the marks on the actor’s neck. It also allegedly showed the body covered in a cloth being carried out of the apartment, repeatedly.

4. News24 to air public apology on October 29 for insensitive and sensational coverage of the actor’s death.

The Authority had found that the Taglines run by News 24 were “offensive and affect the dignity of the deceased” by indicating that Sushant had forgotten the anti-suicide message given by him in his movie Chhichhore.

5. ABP News to comply with the direction to remove objectionable videos of coverage of the actor’s death.

In its order dated October 6, the NBSA had observed: “Undoubtedly, the media has the right of freedom of speech and expression. It also cannot be doubted that when wellknown public personality like Sushant Singh Rajput commits suicide, not only it becomes a big news, but also a matter of discussion which can revolve around various complaints and hypothesis. Therefore, telecast of such programmes, per se, can neither be discouraged nor criticized. The freedom of speech and expression comprises not only the right to express, publish and propagate information through circulation, but also to receive information. By disseminating information, media is facilitating the citizenry to avail this right.”

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