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The Gender Council of the Delhi Union of Journalists is appalled by the continuing demonization of Bollywood’s female actors by the media and investigating agencies. Television channels are on a virtual witch hunt, tracking every movement of the young women who the Narcotics Bureau and other agencies have chosen to question for their alleged involvement in taking drugs.

In a statement today DUJ Gender Council Chairperson and General Secretary, Sujata Madhok and DUJ President lambasted the coverage which smacked of a witch-hunt and targetting of select persons.

The statement added: ‘ The TV channels were initially complicit in painting a picture of Rhea Chakravarty as a wicked woman who supplied drugs to Sushant Singh Rajput before allegedly forcing him to commit suicide/murdering him. Not content with that, the drama has been dragged on for over three months by wild conjecture and speculation about alleged drug chats on whatsapp groups, roping in a series of starlets and others accused of using/supplying/procuring drugs. Much of the coverage would be laughable, such as the recent near hysterical tailing of actor Deepika Padukone from Goa airport to Mumbai airport, to her home in Mumbai, if the issue was not so serious.’

The TV channels and other media choose to hound such soft targets. They would not dare to similarly infringe the privacy of politicians in power or launch such blatant attacks on their reputation.

The DUJ’s Gender Council believes that the political motivations of the channels are increasingly suspect because they are functioning as investigator, judge, jury and executioner. The lionising of some Bollywood actors and the tarnishing of others is equally questionable. The race to grab eyeballs and TRPs does not explain the obsessive coverage, night after night, of an issue that has been turned into reality TV. That they are destroying lives and reputations in the process does not seem to bother the paparazzi.