The News Broadcasting and Standards Association has released a slew of orders condemning the slanderous coverage on actress Rakul Preet Singh in the Sushant Singh Rajput investigation and has ordered the relevant videos to be taken down. The channels involved in the controversy are Zee News, Zee Tas, India TV, India Today, News Nation, ABP News, Aaj Tak and Times Now.
The NBSA also ordered an apology statement to be broadcast by each channel before the 9 PM news on December 17, including an apology for the use of offensive hashtags and admission of the specific channels violations of the "Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards requiring broadcasters to maintain neutrality, impartiality, accuracy and fairness."
Rakul Preet Singh was accused of having links to the alleged drug mafia which is being investigated as part of the case of Sushant Singh Rajput's death. The accompanying hashtags and pictures on news channels prompted the NBSA to take action. In the order directed at Times Now, mention was made of the "irreparable damage" done to the image of actress Rakul Preet Singh, as well as the use of "false and suggestive innuendo" to highlight flaws in her character.
Hashtags run by India TV include: "Drugs Mandli", "Theeno Bud letter the", "TOOK DRUGS" etc. Which created the false impression that the actress was a drug abuser, the NBSA order reads.
Photographs of the actress smoking, wearing skimpy clothing and drinking were used to accompany the news. The retraction statement was given by prime accused Rhea Chakraborty, in which she claimed to have named Singh only under coercion by the NCB was also never broadcast by news channels, and therefore her image was further tarnished.
The orders mark a solution to the plea filed by the actress in a Delhi court, in which she alleged that TV channels were broadcasting vilifying and slanderous content about her alleged links to the drugs mafia in the Sushant Singh Rajput case. The High Court had passed an interim order warning channel to follow the Programme Code and guidelines.