Since the day Sushant Singh Rajput committed suicide the media has doggedly pursued the story putting out the intimate details of the personal lives of Sushant Singh Rajput and Rhea Chakraborty.
A moment that could have begun a national conversation on mental health and structural forms of exclusion has been milked for more than a month now for cheap headlines. Hundreds of news articles on the most minor and irrelevant details of the whereabouts, social media posts, so on, of every single person to have ever been associated with Sushant Singh Rajput, are posted every day.
News reports have publicly announced Rhea’s address, her phone number, have tracked her every day whereabouts, leaked her call and message records, and made conspiracy theories without any proof.
This is during one of the biggest crises of human rights, social justice, healthcare, education, and economic welfare in the country.
These include but are not limited to large scale unemployment, lack of accessible healthcare during a pandemic, dilution of labour rights, large-scale privatisation of public sector undertakings, anti-farmer laws, unlawful arrests of anti-caste activists and interrogations of dissenting voices, arrests of protestors, medical negligence in prisons, auctioning off of natural resources, inaccessible online education, and so on.
Arnab Goswami and Sunanda Pushkar Suicide Case
Today, Delhi High Court has directed Arnab Goswami to exercise restraint and ‘bring down the rhetoric’, till the plea moved by Tharoor seeking injunction against allegedly defamatory broadcasting on Sunanda Pushkar case is disposed of as reported by livelaw.com
While issuing notice to Goswami to file a reply, the Single Bench of Justice Mukta Gupta highlighted that during the pendency of an investigation in a criminal case, media should refrain from running a parallel trial, or from calling someone guilty, or from making unsubstantiated claims.
The sanctity of an investigation and evidence has to be understood and respected’, the court said
The order has come in a plea moved by Shashi Tharoor seeking interim injunction against Republic TV’s Editor Arnab Goswami, restraining him from reporting any news or broadcasting any show related to the death of Mrs. Sunanda Pushkar till the present case is pending and also to restrain him from maligning and defaming the plaintiff in any manner.
Appearing for Tharoor, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal argued that despite the chargesheet being filed in the Sunanda Pushkar case, where no case for murder is made out, Arnab Goswami is claiming in his shows that he has no doubts that Sunanda Pushkar was murdered.
The court further observed that when a chargesheet has been filed by an agency authorised to conduct investigation and a competent court, while taking cognisance of the same, has prima facie concluded that the case involves abetment to suicide and not murder, the statements made by the defendant insinuating murder being committed by Tharoor and not murder, the statements made by the defendant insinuating murder being committed by Tharoor
‘Press has to exercise care and caution while reporting criminal matters that are under the investigation’, the court said.
Therefore, the court directed Arnab Goswami to comply with this court’s previous order and exercise restraint till the next date of hearing.
Earlier this month, the Bombay High Court on 3rd December passed an order stating that it urges and expects the media to show restraint while reporting the developments in the case relating to the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
The bench also said that the media should not report in a manner that hampers the ongoing investigation in the matter.
“We urge and expect the media to exercise restraint in reporting of the investigation with respect to the death, which should not hamper investigation in any manner”, the bench said.