Bollywood superstar Sridevi's demise has shaken India and it's not just the unexpectedness of her death that's left people reeling.
The Indian media has revealed its worst excesses in its coverage of Sridevi's death and people are shocked at how low TV channels have stooped for ratings.
Here are 5 ways Indian media failed Sri Devi after her death:
1) TV channels didn't wait for the facts surrounding her death
When it was earlier reported that Sridevi died after 'cardiac arrest', TV talk shows held lengthy discussions about the state of the late actor's health.
A lot of conjecture that floated about on social media — rumours of her consuming diet pills, having weight reduction surgery, adhering to a strict keto diet, among others — made it to prime-time discussions among 'analysts', when in fact, there should have been wait for her official post-mortem report, which revealed that Sridevi died due to "accidental drowning after a loss of consciousness".
Not only was this disrespectful to the deceased, as if she was responsible for bringing about her end, it goes against media ethics to fuel rumours instead of reporting facts.
Like, this journalist said:
2) They thought it okay to simulate the scene of her death
Indian media's new motto may as well be no photo, no problem.
With no visual complement for their 'analysis', TV channels resorted to simulating the scene of Sridevi's death.
AajTak decided to place their reporter at the scene of her death, with the bathtub reading 'Maut Ka Bathtub':
CNN News 18 thought it fit to photoshop a comatose Sridevi in a bathtub:
While one channel added a wine glass as detail.
TV9 Telugu thought the picture wasn't complete without Boney Kapoor.
ABP News even promised to take viewers through "Sridevi's last 15 mins in bathroom".
3) They exaggerated her husband Boney Kapoor's police interrogation
It's standard procedure for the police to question the deceased's next of kin or the person to have discovered the body. And true to practice, the Dubai Police did just that.
But, according to this article, "it was exclusive news that Boney Kapoor had been “grilled” for 16-18 hours, and even spent the night at the police station. That Boney had been “cleared” by the police was hidden, like a footnote."
4) They openly wondered if drinking had to do with her death
When the forensic report revealed that there were “traces of alcohol” in her blood, which simply suggests that she consumed some before her death, TV channels ran with the information.
They carried out open probes on her drinking habits, interviewing friends on whether Sridevi usually drank red wine or vodka.
One 'analyst' surmised that one glass of alcohol and an antidepressant could have been her undoing, when there's no evidence to suggest that Sridevi would have taken the latter.
There were also extended discussions on what frustrated Sridevi, what caused her to drink that night, and so on.
5) They also carried out some very unnecessary analysis
In her article on Indian media coverage of Sridevi's death, Barkha Dutt notes that news anchors discussed "whether a trained dancer could lose her balance in the bathtub" and "whether Indians get any of this, because, you see, we mostly use the shower — or bathe from buckets and don’t have a “bathtub culture.”