Heeramandi: An Over Thought Out Review

Observing the Media Trial – #SushantSinghRajput & #RheaChakraborty

I was once editing an article on Ethical Hacking where my colleague had interviewed an ethical hacker and he was discussing how hacking works. It was half way through the edit did I realise that this is in a way, giving out the information on how to hack and we rewrote the entire article.  

That is when I realised that at times, even the most harmless or seemingly informative article can have various other angles and could end up being a beginner’s guide to something horrible. Especially when it is a part of mass media.  

The recent Sushant Singh Rajput and Rhea Chakraborty case is reminding me of the same thing. The case is being covered in a such a hurried way, that I doubt if anyone is pausing to check if they are doing their job right.  

The entire case is going through a media trial and is in a way hampering the due course of our agencies whose job is to investigate.  

I do not know who is right or wrong, if it was a suicide or murder, I do not know. While I am taking every bit of information with a pinch of salt, the case has given me an ideal scenario to test the media theories that I had learnt when studying Mass Media.  

The very first one that comes to my mind is the Agenda Setting Theory  

This theory talks about how media can influence the way people think about a certain issue. It could be by highlighting one news story more than the other in an attempt to make the reader/viewer think that it is a more pressing issue. Or the media can exaggerate a news report to such an extent that the media is now able to control the narrative around the news and thus ends up influencing what the viewer/reader thinks about that issue. 

When the news of Sushant Singh Rajput first broke, there was a limbo for the initial few minutes and soon it was declared as a suicide. As the investigation began, a few incompentencies were highlighted by certain media outlets. This could be seen as both, Journalism and Agenda Setting. Because, while the flaws were being highlighted, the media did not let the investigation to complete before starting its own media trial. It went from pointing out flaws and keeping a check to taking matters in their own hands. 

However, what highlights that the theory could be at play here is the fact that how every person who is a part of this media trail is able to push their own personal bias.  

  • An actress who was vocal about Nepotism for a couple of years now, is able to connect the SSR case with Nepotism 
  • A TV channel and several individuals who evidently support a certain political party are able to float the idea that bigwigs of the other political party are involved 
  • The fact that everything is just by sources, informants etc and no concrete information or evidence is provided also raises questions

Let us also focus a bit on how the daily prime time is now focussing on these “speculations” and “information” without any concrete evidence from the authorities who are investigating the case.  This also leads us to the Gatekeeping Theory, I will talk about it in the next post. 

Also, the basic job of a Journalist is to state the facts as they are. A journalist listens to both parties and puts them up for the readers/viewers to decide.  

In this entire media trial, they clearly already have a culprit and that culprit is not allowed any platform to put forth their view. 

In fact, when a news channel did conduct an interview with the prime accused, hashtags asking for a ban on that media house were trending on all social media. 

When did we stop listening to the other party? 

Demanding a proper investigation is one thing but coming up with your own conclusions without any evidence is not Journalism, it is agenda setting.  

Here is a thought:
If tomorrow, the investigation tells us that it indeed was a suicide without any foul play. Will the people who conducted these media trials accept their mistake? Would this be considered as disservice to journalism? Will you, who invested so much time in buying everything that was provided to you, demand better journalism in the country?  


  1. Good one . Adding to this is it really required for sushant side like her lawyer and her sister to comment against every statement made by Rhea. They wanted CBI which they got it. Let CBI do it's work. Hope truth prevails. As we saw CBI many times not solved many cases hope this is not one of them. We all know got things work in India.

  2. Ofcourse not. Why would we apologize? We had our fun. I think your question is rhetorical though so yeah, you are right.

    India doesn't want better journalism, they want better entertainment. Right now journalism is best entertainment. We are watching the real reality show on daily basis, where there are heroes, villians and broad storylines that are easy to follow for everyone. And we get to be part of the story by going on Twitter or WhatsApp


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