Was Salman Khan’s media trial fair?

Media trial for a celebrity for high profile court cases have become a new trend in India. TV channels behave as if they are caretakers of the poor and downtrodden in our country. Generally in India, there are a lot of cases of accidents and rapes on daily basis but how many are shown on TV? The journalists’ behaviours are similar to social activists. For the last fifteen years, the only case of accident that is being followed by the media continuously was that of Salman Khan. He has always been a “Bad Boy” of Bollywood for the media and an easy scapegoat. His popularity with the masses made this case very interesting. Media trial started before the case began in court.

Like any citizen of a country, celebrities have the right to defend themselves in court. Salman Khan was acquitted of all charges in the 2002 hit-and-run case by the Bombay High Court. If found guilty, he would have to serve a five-year imprisonment term, following the May’s order. After the verdict, people on social media are bashing him as if he is a murderer. The public have got the wrong perception because of the intense media trial.

Why all the media bashing on his charitable trust ‘Being Human’? It has helped thousands of people. Why mixing his accident and black buck hunting case to his charitable trust? The media have given him the “Bad Boy” tag a long time ago and they don’t want to change that. It will not help their ratings. After Salman Khan, they have not got any new scapegoat. Many in social media, who are commenting about Salman Khan wouldn’t even know the victims’ name in the accident.

The government should not encourage media trials by TV channels for celebrities, if the case is still going on in a court of justice. The celebrities’ public image goes for a lot of bashing unnecessarily. The media has the right to inform but not alter perceptions on the suspects. It will be strongly against journalistic ethics. Judiciary should always have a stronger say than the media in any country. Media should be equal to the rich and poor.

The media should realize that if they have given so much focus on the Salman Khan’s case and they want the public to take them seriously, then we expect them to follow up for all the cases of the poor in India. Then, it will be fairer journalism.

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“I love the colours and vibrancy in commercial Hindi films” – Tannishtha Chatterjee

Bollywood Weekly Report – December 14, 2015