Anil Thakraney: Can we not cover last rites please?

10 Jun,2013

By Anil Thakraney


Of course, young Jiah Khan’s suicide had to be covered extensively in the media. She was a member of the showbiz (even if a small player), and therefore public interest would be intense. Also, there’s a ‘lovers’ tiff’ angle to the tragedy, and this makes the incident even more interesting. All very fine, and I am sure this story will be closely followed by the media as the police investigation progresses, which is the way it should be.


However, there’s something not very nice the media did once again, and I am pointing this out with the hope that we don’t indulge in this unfairness in the future. The press covered the dead girl’s funeral, and pictures of her wailing family members were lavishly spread out in the newspapers. (I did not follow the story on television, am certain they did the same thing.)  What is the need for this, what ‘public interest’ does this serve? Performing the last rites of an individual is a deeply personal moment, the family members and close friends are in deep anguish and dazed with shock, why would we want to shove cameras in their faces at this time? I think the media must come to an understanding that the last rites of a dead individual should not be covered. There will be plenty of opportunities at a later time/date to communicate with the family members.


Some of you would argue that funeral processions of departed leaders are routinely covered by the media across the world. I am okay with this, fans of these bada netas have the right to follow the procession, even if via the media. I had no issues, for example, when Bal Thackeray’s cremation was covered on live television. It also helps give their zillion fans a sense of closure. But was Jiah Khan a leader of the masses? Heck, she didn’t even have an adequate fan following in Bollywood, she was just another struggling starlet in an ocean of filmi strugglers (Mumbai’s Lokhandwala Complex alone boasts of tens of thousands). So apart from sensationalizing someone’s tragedy, what good did come of this?


To all editors and publishers reading this article: Can we agree that funeral processions of people like Jiah Khan will be kept away from public glare? Can we agree that even in the mad chase for readership and eyeballs, we will show respect for basic human dignity?


Or, am I asking for too much from the savagely hungry Indian media?




PS: I know, things have gotten a bit serious today. So let me leave you with a smile.  Here’s a cool way to demonstrate the start/stop function in a car, a warm way to humanize technology. Even I bawl like a baby when the traffic light turns red.



Anil Thakraney is a senior journalist and commentator. He is also Editor-at-Large, MxMIndia. The views expressed here are his own. He can be reached via Twitter at @anilthakraney


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One response to “Anil Thakraney: Can we not cover last rites please?”

  1. anil says:

    I think jia khans last rites should be given importance not on large scale but then also it can give a learning for new and old celebs.