Media is supposed to be an impartial medium of making vital information accessible to the masses but instead it has morphed into a monster that is quick to judge and resorts to bullying just to make a story.
One of the biggest instances of such bullying in India was when Times of India one of the largest media houses of India tweeted a video of Deepika Padukone’s cleavage in 2014. An outraged Deepika quickly tweeted back at TOI saying, “Yes! I am a woman. I have breasts and a cleavage! You got a problem?” This move of Deepika to contest TOI’s actions was widely applauded by the public and several other newspapers reported on it condemning TOI’s ‘yellow journalism’.
But instead of apologising TOI chose to write another article titled “Our Point of View” that slut-shamed her and refused to take responsibility for their actions. There are several such instances of the media harassing celebrities and public figures for the sake of producing eye-catching headlines. Rebel Wilson, the Australian actor and comedian too was harassed by Bauer Media, the publisher of Woman’s Day, Australian Woman’s Day, Australian Women’s Weekly, NW and OK! Magazine but she decided to clap back by suing them on charges of defamation.
Rebel Wilson decided to take Bauer media to court in 2017, after the media house published a series of articles painting Wilson as a serial liar who had faked her way to a Hollywood career. Wilson claimed that she was fired from two films – Kung Fu Panda 3 and Trolls, and was unable to get any more work due to the defamatory articles. After a lengthy and highly publicised trial, Wilson emerged victorious with the biggest defamation payout of $4.56m, in the history of Australia. Wilson announced that the case wasn’t about the money and tweeted that “I’m looking forward to helping out some great Australian charities and supporting the Oz film industry with the damages I’ve received.” This became a lesson for gossip-magazines that promote sensationalism for mere profit.
But in the age of social media it has become doubly easy to target individuals who become subject to ridicule. Various celebrities and public figures have become the victim of online trolls on social media like Rahul Gandhi and more recently, Anant Ambani, son of Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries. At an event to mark the 40th anniversary of the Reliance group he gave a speech that took social media by storm.As the speech went viral, there were a deluge of memes that made the rounds of twitter early this week.
YouTuber Dhinchak Pooja, too, was a victim of numerous online trolls criticising her pronunciation and activities. These comments and memes are then featured and broadcasted as news by media houses, which instead of criticising such elitism and prudishness, condone it. This recent trend of criticising people on the basis of their speech, clothing and appearance has overshadowed the real role of the media which is to deliver unbiased facts regarding important events and affairs of the world.