As a democracy blessed with a plethora of political parties, we’re used to the norm of these establishments hiring a mob to participate in their campaigns. However, it is uncanny if the same code of conduct is followed by news media outlets- also known as the fourth estate.
A video has been doing rounds on social media where a reporter can be seen covering the situation outside Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut’s property in Mumbai, which was demolished by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
In a clip aired by ABP news channel, a reporter can be seen describing the chaos outside Ranaut’s residence, during which he added that there is a mob hired by a news channel, which is praising Kangana and denouncing rival media channels as well.
While, this might come as a brow-raising incident, the practice isn’t new. A veteran journalist told The Free Press Journal, that ahead of actor Sanjay Dutt’s release from jail, a reporter bought a box of laddoos and got a passer-by to distribute them to the onlookers. He then filmed it claiming that Dutt fans are happy and distribution sweets.
Dutt was arrested under the TADA and the Arms Act in April 1993 and was convicted for violation of Arms Act for possession of illegal weapons procured from other accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts. After serving his sentence, he was released in 2016.
Meanwhile, the Bombay High Court stayed the demolition at Kangana’s property saying the civic body's conduct was "malafide" and "deplorable".
A division bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and R I Chagla asked why the BMC gave only 24 hours to Ranaut to respond to its stop-work notice and went on to take action when she was outside Maharashtra.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Ranaut challenging a notice issued by the BMC for "illegal' construction at her bungalow.
Ranaut's recent remark comparing Mumbai to Pakistan- occupied-Kashmir (PoK) has drawn the ire of the ruling Shiv Sena. She had said that she feared Mumbai Police more than the "movie mafia", and would prefer security either from Himachal Pradesh or the Centre.
The 33-year-old "Queen" actor, who returned to Mumbai on Wednesday afternoon from her home state Himachal Pradesh, alleged that the Maharashtra government was targeting her because of her clash with the Shiv Sena.