08 Oct 2020: SSR case: News channels asked to apologize for insensitive coverage
The channels were asked to apologize by the self-governing authority for disrespecting the dignity of the deceased.
Leading Hindi news channel Aaj Tak was fined Rs. 1 lakh for broadcasting fake tweets as a part of its scandalous reportage.
Suggestion: News reports should not violate privacy of the dead: NBSA
The authority had maximum complaints with Aaj Tak. The channel, along with India TV, was pulled up for telecasting the images of Sushant's corpse.
Saying that news channels must cover reports in the public interest, the authority said it's important that news is presented without violating the privacy of the dead.
"Dead must not be subjected to unnecessary media glare," NBSA said.
Details: Aaj Tak, India TV explicitly showed details of Sushant's corpse
Aaj Tak reportedly showed Sushant's corpse, his bedroom, and even revealed the color of the cloth used for strangulation. India TV, on the other, explicitly described how his lips changed color and the marks on his neck.
Both channels were asked to apologize.
News Nation also broadcast the corpse but was let off as the channel expressed "remorse," Live Law added.
Tweets: Aaj Tak showed three fake tweets "authored" by Sushant
Without much background check, Aaj Tak also telecast three tweets, attributing them to Sushant.
The channel claimed he wrote the tweets on June 14, hours before his death. Later, the channel removed the tweets and retracted the article.
Fining Rs. 1,00,000, NBSA said the channel should have "conducted its due diligence and verification prior to telecasting/uploading the tweets."
Order: "Barging into Sushant's home, questioning grieving family was wrong"
The authority found Aaj Tak in violation of guidelines that say that information must be gathered from multiple sources.
As per the guidelines, "errors of fact should be corrected at the earliest, giving sufficient prominence to the broadcast of the correct version of fact(s)," and Aaj Tak clearly faltered.
NBSA also concluded Aaj Tak violated guidelines when its reporters stormed into Sushant's home and shot questions toward a bereaved family.
Taglines: News channels were criticized for using insensitive taglines
The body wasn't as harsh on ABP News reporters for interviewing Sushant's cousin, as she voluntarily gave consent for the interaction.
Further, slamming the taglines used by news channels, possibly to get more traction, NBSA said they were "offensive."
Aaj Tak's "Hit-Wicket" tagline, Zee News'"Patna ka Sushant, Mumbai me fail kyu?" and another by News24 were labeled insulting by the body.
Statement: Programs without taglines wouldn't have violated guidelines, noted body
Asking them to apologize, the body said, "If the program carried by Aaj Tak, Zee News and News24 were without such taglines, it may not have violated the guidelines."
But with the controversial words, the channels violated the Specific Guideline Covering Reportage.
NBSA understood the actor's untimely demise was coverage-worthy, but said the channels shouldn't have lost sight of rules.
Opinion: TV media revealed its darkest side while covering SSR's case
The SSR death case dominated headlines for weeks at stretch, to a point that it became nauseating.
After the actor's family leveled allegations of drug abuse, cheating, and murder on girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty, the coverage turned more problematic.
Media crew chased cars in Mumbai, news anchors yelled in studios, eventually throwing poor light on ethical journalism and sparking conversations about the need for censoring.