Hindi News channel Aaj Tak has been fined Rs 1 lakh by News Broadcasting Standards Agency (NBSA) for broadcasting fake tweets of deceased actor Sushant Singh Rajput. The broadcasting regulatory body also directed the channel to air an apology.
NBSA further stated that it will instruct the channel on the text, date and time of the apology. Aaj Tak will then have to submit a proof of compliance by submitting the copy of the telecast of the apology in a compact disc within seven days of telecast.
In its order on October 6, the NBSA held that Aaj Tak “did not conduct the due diligence required prior to telecasting the tweets and attributing” those to Rajput. It also directed that videos of the same programmes, if posted on the website of the broadcasters, YouTube or other links should be removed immediately.
The NBSA has accused Aaj Tak and India TV of committing “egregious violations” of guidelines especially in the way images of Rajput’s body were telecast. Other news channels like Zee News and News 24 have also been ordered to air apologies for some of their programmes and tag lines aired during the coverage into the death of the actor.
It has also issued a word of caution to News Nation for televising images Rajput’s corpse only after the channel’s contrition and assurance of not repeating such broadcast. ABP Majha was also let off with a warning as the authority observed that the channel did not show any close up photos of the actor’s body.
Screenshots of fake tweets have circulating on social media as actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s last message. The tweets which were allegedly posted a few hours before his death, and subsequently deleted, discussed about his mental health and why he thought of ending his life.
“I’m ending all this for good. Going far yet so close to you people. Maybe after this people try to communicate with others rather than holding onto the thoughts. See ya at the other side. GoodBye (sic),” read one of the posts on Twitter
Hindi News channel Aaj Tak subsequently aired a story based on these tweets. However, the story has now been taken down.
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