Saturday, November 28, 2020

Media circus: Times Now wonders if Republic will ‘introspect’ for a story they themselves pursued for weeks

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Times Now launches veiled attacks on Republic Tv, ends up exposing itself

— Consider reading the article Media circus: Times Now wonders if Republic will ‘introspect’ for a story they themselves pursued for weeks on OpIndia website —

Hours after it was reported that a panel of AIIMS doctors has ‘ruled out’ the murder angle in the unnatural death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, Times Now took a veiled dig at Republic TV. Reportedly, one Dr Sudhir Gupta has examined the post-mortem and viscera reports of the deceased actor and stated that it was a case of suicide.

During a news debate on Times Now over the sensational development in the Sushant Singh Rajput case, the news channel put out several ‘big questions’ for its viewers. One of them was, “Will those who cried murder and maligned Mumbai police now introspect?” the question read. Although not named, the channel’s question was directed at its rival Republic TV, which has been consistently covering the Sushant Singh Rajput case. Times Now directed Republic TV to ‘introspect’ for dismissing the ‘suicide angle’ and peddling the ‘murder theory’.

Screengrab of the Times debate

The channel also questioned whether the report vindicated the Mumbai Police stand that it was a case of suicide. They also wondered whether now the Shiv Sena govt will be proven right in their claim of political conspiracy behind probes by central agencies in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case. They also asked whether the agencies have any other proof other than circumstantial evidence.

It may be noted that CBI has not announced anything about the forensic report by the AIIMS team, and the Times Now report was based on ‘sources’.

Times Now nails ‘suicide theory’ based on unseen videos

However, a closer look at the coverage of Times Now in Sushant’s death case shows a different story. On August 14, the news channel tweeted four videos of the deceased actor, which showed Sushant in a jovial mood. The videos dated back to January this year when the actor had gone to meet his family. Keeping the videos at the epicentre of her argument, journalist Navika Kumar insinuated that the ‘happy’ actor could not have committed suicide.

Claiming that the suicide theory was fabricated, Navika claimed that the never-seen-before videos allegedly pointed towards a murder angle.

Times Now discovers ‘Dubai mafia angle’ in Sushant Singh Rajput case

Just 8 days after hinting at a ‘potential’ murder case, Times Now broke an ‘exclusive’ story about the possible hand of Dubai-based mafia in the death of Sushant Singh case. Until then, the news channel would put the word ‘alleged’ before the word ‘murder’. While framing it as a question, Times Now asked, “Dubai mafia behind Sushant’s murder?” It also opened the telephone lines for viewers to share their thoughts and opinions on the possible correlation between the mafia groups and his ‘murder’.

Section 302 only a matter of time, asks Times Now

Since then, the channel has been aggressively pursuing the ‘murder’ angle. The message that Sushant Singh Rajput was perhaps ‘killed’ was conveyed to viewers through their regular ‘exclusive’ stories. As recently as September 29, Times Now highlighted how the panel of AIIMS doctors, investigating the case, found that ‘homicide’ angle could not be ruled out on the basis of forensics. Journalist Rahul Shivshankar further claimed that the AIIMS report was in line with the CBI probe. The channel also ran a headline that read, “302 case (IPC Section for murder) only a matter of time.”

Video Courtesy: Times Now

On October 1, Times Now again peddled the ‘murder theory’ by claiming that the central investigative agency may soon invoke the ‘murder charge’. The report read, “In a fresh development in the Sushant Singh Rajput’s death case, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has reportedly indicated that it may invoke Section 302 of IPC (murder) in connection with the actor’s death.”

Screengrab of the Times Now article

Before explaining to readers about the provisions of IPC Section 302, the report emphasised, “The AIIMS report has ruled out the theory that the late actor was poisoned before his death. As the probe agency may invoke Section 302, it is bound to give a new twist to the case.”

It is therefore surprising to see Times Now taking a U-turn on its earlier news coverage and engage in virtue-signalling to its rival Republic Tv. In the age of social media, news channels should be aware that it is no longer possible to fool the masses with sanctimonious assertions and bias. The clearly visible hypocrisy and veiled attacks against a rival channel only highlight their own frustrations and shows that they are not actually concerned about journalistic standards and media morality.

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