India Today has been plummeting down the TRP rankings lately, and it’s not hard to see why.
India Today’s News Director Rahul Kanwal today took to Twitter to decry how Deepika Padukone’s drug chats, in which she asks for “maal” and specifies that she wants hash and not weed, should not have been made public. “The leaking of private Whatsapp chats raises serious questions about privacy?” he sanctimoniously wrote on Twitter. “Many have been wondering how was NCB able to access @deepikapadukone & Karishma’s private chat? Can someone be forced by agencies to share passwords with help retrieve deleted chats?” he continued.
Rahul Kanwal appeared to be staunchly supporting an individual’s right to privacy, and questioning how private chats between two individuals could be made public for all to see. This would have been a very noble thought, but there was a problem. As pointed out by Twitter user @BefittingFacts, Rahul Kanwal had proudly shown off the private WhatsApp chats of deceased actor Sushant Singh Rajput on India Today just a few weeks prior.
“Sushant’s family has said they didn’t know about his mental illness,” Rahul Kanwal had tweeted on 31st August. “But new WhatsApp chats accessed by India Today show exchanges between Sushant and his sister Priyanka where the sister is arranging depression medicines and telling SSR to have his pills,” he’d said.
It wasn’t only this one instance — throughout the entire Sushant Singh Rajput saga, India Today had been proudly unearthing and broadcasting private chats between individuals.
Yet Rahul Kanwal seemed to be implying that it was perfectly alright for media houses like his own to access private chats and display them to the public, but it was somehow not alright for government agencies to access chats which specifically contained evidence of criminal activity. And if other media houses were able to access those chats and then display them to the public, it was somehow an unacceptable intrusion of privacy. More crucially, Kanwal himself had shared the chats of a deceased person who could no longer defend themselves, while Deepika Padukone is very much around and can refute the chats and deny charges if they’re fake.
Yet this blatant hypocrisy appeared to be lost on Rahul Kanwal. India Today has been slowing sliding into irrelevance — a mere 8% of viewers tuned into the channel during prime-time, compared to an astounding 68% on Republic. And these very public flip flops by its top anchors aren’t exactly helping its case.