NEW DELHI: Taking strong objection to the coverage of the Sushant Singh Rajput case by many media outlets, the Press Council of India on Friday said the media should adhere to the norms of journalistic conduct in covering cases under investigation and is advised not to carry out its own “parallel trial”.
The media should not narrate the story in a manner so as to induce the general public to believe in the complicity of the person indicted, the Press Council of India (PCI) said in its advisory.
The Council said it has noted with “distress that coverage of the alleged suicide by a film actor by many media outlets is in violation of the norms of journalistic conduct” and, therefore, advises the media to adhere to the norms framed by it.
Asserting that publishing information based on gossip about the line of investigation by official agencies on the crime committed is not desirable, the PCI said it is not advisable to vigorously report crime related issues on a “day to day basis and comment on the evidence without ascertaining the factual matrix”.
Such reporting brings undue pressure in the course of fair investigation and trial, it said.
“The media is advised to refrain from giving excessive publicity to the victim, witnesses, suspects and accused as it will amount to invasion of their privacy rights,” the PCI said.
Identification of the witnesses by the media needs to be avoided as it endangers them to come under pressure from the accused or associates as well as investigating agencies, it said.
The PCI asserted that the media is advised not to “conduct its own parallel trial or foretell the decision to avoid pressure during investigation and trial”.
The reporting of the alleged suicide by the actor by some of newspapers is also in violation of the norms formulated by the Council for reporting on suicide, it said.
The norm prohibits publishing stories about suicide prominently and advises the media not to unduly repeat such stories, the PCI said.
The media is expected not to use language which sensationalises or normalises suicides or presents it as a constructive solution to the problems, it said.
The PCI asked the media not to use sensational headlines or use photographs, video-footage or social media links while reporting on suicide cases.
Actress Rhea Chakraborty has been accused of abetting the suicide of filmstar Sushant Singh Rajput.
The Supreme Court had last week upheld the transfer of an FIR, lodged by Rajput’s father in Patna against Rhea Chakraborty and others for allegedly abetting his son’ssuicide and misappropriating his money, to the CBI.
The 34-year-old actor was found hanging on June 14 in his flat in suburban Bandra.