The News Broadcasting Standard Authority (NBSA) has imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on AajTak and sought a public apology from the channel for telecasting fake tweets relating to late actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
NBSA, a self-regulatory body, asked AajTak, part of TV Today, to air an apology in view of the fact that it did not conduct the due diligence required prior to telecasting the tweets and attributing them to the late actor. The text, date and time of the apology will be given to the broadcaster.
The proof of compliance of telecast of the apology should be submitted on compact disc within 7 days of the telecast, NBSA said.
NBSA also decided that a fine of Rs 1 lakh be imposed on Aaj Tak payable to NBSA within seven days of receipt of the order.
Referring to Aaj Tak’s “Hit-Wicket” tagline, the authority said, “It appears that the questions are being addressed to Sushant Singh Rajput, who is no more, therefore the taglines are offensive, violate privacy and affect the dignity of the deceased.”
The NBSA said while it is the duty of the news channel to report news, it should not violate the privacy of the dead nor sensationalise a tragic incident.
In its order dated October 6, the NBSA said, “Aaj Tak ‘did not conduct the due diligence required prior to telecasting the tweets and attributing them to Rajput’.”
It also said that videos of the same programmes, if hosted on the website of the broadcasters, YouTube or other links, should be removed immediately.
AajTak had published a report on Sushant Singh Rajput’s “last tweets” on June 16, two days after the actor was found dead in his house in Mumbai. Aaj Tak had also tweeted the article from its official Twitter account. The tweet where the late actor allegedly hinted taking his own life was subsequently deleted. Aaj Tak later took down its report.
AajTak had given some “Hit wicket” taglines, such as “aise kaise hit-wicket ho gaye Sushant?”, “Sushant zindagi ki pitch par hit-wicket kaise ho gaye” and “Sushant itne ashant kaise?”.
The NBSA said the news channel has violated the ‘Specific Guideline Covering Reportage’.