For about a day, Republic TV and its commander-in-chief went on and on about a “big exposé” in the Sushant Singh Rajput saga. We were told this was the “final truth” and the only truth in the matter that we should care about.
At 10 am today, Arnab Goswami’s channel presented this “exposé”, which turned out to be a dud. The channel aired a recorded phone conversation between Dr Sudhir Gupta, forensics head at the All India Medical Institute of Science, New Delhi, and Prakash Singh, special projects editor at Republic TV.
The , from August 22, purportedly has Gupta dictating a quote to Singh on September 2:
Speaking to Republic TV, Dr Sudhir Gupta had also expressed his shock in the manner in which the crime scene was "contaminated”. He observed that the crime scene was not kept intact and was "contaminated" thereby making it possibly "unsuitable for the examination of forensic evidence”.
What Republic TV did today was simply air the phone conversation in which Gupta discusses this concern with the Republic TV editor. It is unclear in which universe this would be called an exposé, or even a news break.
It must be noted that airing phone conversations without permission is a serious breach of journalistic ethics. Journalists speak to numerous people while chasing stories and those conversations aren’t up for public consumption unless they have clear permission to do so. What Republic TV is calling “tapes” is actually just a phone conversation that their journalist had with a source. This Republic TV has done so; it routinely broadcasts phone conversations with sources as “stings” or “explosive tapes”.
In a that Newslaundry published last month, a former Republic TV employee says she was once told to sting her source. “They would give us instructions like, ‘Wire yourself up and meet your source’. Why would you do that? A source becomes a source because of a certain trust that you develop with them, you have to protect their identity, not expose them.”
Meanwhile, Gupta told India Today that he had doubts initially, but after looking at Rajput’s death from all angles, he and all other doctors on the seven-member AIIMS panel that investigated it came to the conclusion that the actor had died by suicide.
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