Bollywood appeals to media to hunt news, not women
Filmmakers Mira Nair, Farhan Akhtar and Anurag Kashyap and actress Sonam Kapoor are among over 2,500 people who have signed an open letter condemning the media’s “witch-hunt” of Rhea Chakraborty in the coverage of Sushant Singh Rajput’s death.
Film personalities including Frieda Pinto, Zoya Akhtar, Alankrita Shrivastava, Gauri Shinde, Reema Kagti, Ruchi Narain, Rasika Dugal, Nitya Mehra, Amruta Subhash, Mini Mathur, Dia Mirza and Kubbra Sait are also signatories to the letter that asks the media to “hunt news, not women”.
Rhea, who has been arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau in connection with drugs-related allegations in Sushant’s death case, has been at the centre of a vicious and breathless vilification campaign.
The open letter, addressed to “the dear news media of India”, is published on a blog called Feminist Voices.
“Dear news media of India. We are worried about you. Are you feeling ok? Because, as we watch your witch-hunt of Rhea Chakraborty, we cannot understand why you have abandoned every professional ethic of journalism, every tenet of human decency and dignity and chosen instead to physically assault a young woman with your camera crews, endlessly violate her privacy and work overtime on false accusations and moralistic innuendo for a drama of ‘Rhea ko phasao’,” the letter says.
The signatories have called out the media for being “obsessed” with creating the narrative of a young woman as a “morally dubious character” because she speaks up for herself instead of “acting like a damsel in distress”.
Drawing parallels with the coverage of cases of actors Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt, the letter has urged the media to show the same kindness and respect to Rhea.
“We know you can be different — because we have seen you be kind and respectful to the Salman Khans and Sanjay Dutts of this world, urging us to think of their families, fans and careers,” the letter says.
“We write to ask you, the news media, to stop this unfair witch-hunt of Rhea Chakraborty…. We write to ask you to do the right and responsible thing. Your jobs. Hunt news, not women,” the letter added.