Sumanti Sen is an English Literature graduate who believes "there's just one kind of folks. Folks.".
Spread over social media, television and newspapers yesterday were distressing videos and images of Rhea Chakraborty being mobbed by the media as she tried making her way into the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) office, escorted by police personnel. The media's behaviour was barbaric and threw light on the unfortunate state of journalism in the country.
It is a sad truth that the tragic death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput has attracted media attention in all the wrong ways. What should have been a resolute effort to reveal the truth has turned into the media and common people's pursuit to vilify and harass a woman whose role in the actor's death is yet to be known. Rhea Chakraborty has been accused of murder, called a 'witch' and given rape threats over social media.
Vehement television anchors have taken it upon themselves to conduct a trial and pronounce Rhea guilty -- without any evidence.
Humanity is dead. Journalism is at stake. People are baying for blood.
Each day, the public is devouring the new twists that the actor's death case is being spiced up with. The narrative has metamorphosed from nepotism to narcotics. CBI investigation aside, media investigation has witch-hunted Rhea and made her the antagonist of the story.
Sushant's death had prompted fresh dialogue on mental health. The media spoke to mental health experts and social media users put up posts to raise awareness.
However, when the spotlight moved from Sushant to Rhea, the same people forgot all about the awareness they had themselves tried to create, and persistently hounded and persecuted her on the basis of their assumptions.
Leaked chats between the actress and various other people were flashed on television channels, which paid no heed to the fact that they were violating one's right to privacy. Based on the chats, endless speculations by a large section of the media assassinated the woman's character.
What we are witnessing at the moment is nothing but a very obvious reaction of a deeply dysfunctional society, a one that reeks of deep-rooted patriarchy and blatant misogyny. In this society, a woman is blamed for almost everything that happens to a man she is closely associated with.
Whether or not Sushant Singh Rajput smoked cannabis is irrelevant when it comes to the vilification of Rhea, but just considering that he did, why should a woman be held responsible for what an adult man chooses to do?
This is not the first instance that threw light upon such distasteful public behaviour. Anushka Sharma was abused and trolled several times when Virat Kohli had a bad day on the pitch. Sania Mirza has on numerous occasions been attacked for the failures of her husband.
A police personnel questioned Rhea's "aukaat" to criticise the government. A popular media channel ran a programme with the headline "Sushant par Rhea ka kaala jaadu (Sushant was a victim of Rhea's black magic)". People in power stooped as low as they could to torment a woman against whom they had no evidence.
Media houses, whose conduct should be such that they are looked up to by the masses, have forgotten the difference between reporting and sensationalising.
The manner in which an actor's death case has been excavated and thrown mud at by the media in the country is going to make it extremely difficult for the channels to repair their soiled reputation.
We must remember that Rhea Chakraborty has neither been pronounced guilty of abetment to suicide, nor murder. We do not have the right to sentence her in our social media courtrooms.
Thank you for subscribing.
We have sent you a confirmation email.