India’s news coverage of Bollywood star’s death sparks anger

Sridevi Kapoor at the IIFA Magic of the Movies show in Tampa, Florida, 25 April 2014Image copyrightAFP
Image caption Sridevi was an icon in Bollywood cinema having starred in more than 150 films

Twitter users have expressed outrage over India’s TV news graphics of Sridevi Kapoor in bathrooms in their coverage of her death.

A Dubai post-mortem report said the Bollywood superstar, known simply as Sridevi, died of accidental drowning in a hotel bath.

Some news programmes in India began screening images of the actress in bathtubs and bathrooms to visualise her last moments.

India’s news coverage of Bollywood star’s death sparks anger
India’s news coverage of Bollywood star’s death sparks anger

This led to a backlash on social media, with people expressing their anger by taking photos of the TV reports they found most shocking.

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Delhi-based columnist Brown Sahiba shared this image describing it as “gross”.

Skip Twitter post by @Rajyasree

That’s Sridevi floating in a tub. This is gross on multiple fronts. pic.twitter.com/5duSDmI8wV

— Brown Sahiba (@Rajyasree) February 26, 2018

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End of Twitter post by @Rajyasree

Indian journalist Karnika Kohli posted pictures she felt were in bad taste, including this from Hindi channel Aaj Tak TV, where the text on the bathtub reads ‘The Bathtub of Death’.

Skip Twitter post by @KarnikaKohli

C’mon, just give them the goddamn Pulitzer already! pic.twitter.com/aU8vBaL0fI

— Karnika Kohli (@KarnikaKohli) February 26, 2018

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End of Twitter post by @KarnikaKohli

Other Twitter users who were critical of the coverage included actor and comedian Vir Das, who called Indian news channels “parasites” in a tweet liked nearly 4,000 times and urging them to “show a little tact”.

Some news outlets were encouraging social media users to speculate on the cause of Sridevi’s death using the hashtag #SredeviDeathMystery.

But the hashtag was hijacked by people looking for a way to direct their anger at the news organisations’ reporting, with one user branding India’s news media “disgusting”, while another commented that “journalism has stooped to a new low”.

Social media users later established their own hashtag #NewsKiMaut – which translates as ‘The Death of News’ – to share their reactions to how Sridevi’s death has been reported.

Skip Twitter post by @BDUTT

The only answer to these #Sridevi hideous hashtags on news tv tonight is one of our own : #NewsKiMaut. Forget a bathtub; a drain pipe will do for this gutter level rubbish. Ashamed to be affiliated with this. Relieved to not be on air in this present environment

— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) February 26, 2018

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End of Twitter post by @BDUTT

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