Mumbai: In the wake of the ongoing coverage by the Indian media in the investigation of the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, Cine & TV Artists Association (CINTAA) on Tuesday condemned the vilification of actors and film industry on national television.

Actor Rhea Chakraborty is being investigated in connection with the death of Rajput, who was found dead in his flat in suburban Mumbai on June 14.

Chakraborty was arrested on Tuesday by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in connection with drugs-related allegations in Rajput’s death case.

The media cannot function as a “self-appointed judge, jury and executioner”, CINTAA said in a statement, adding that “catastrophic repercussions are ignored” in an attempt to boost viewership ratings.

“The news media, an integral part of the media & entertainment industry has been outrageously vehement these last few weeks, in attacking men and women from the actors fraternity as if they are participants and instigators in an alleged conspiracy that has occupied headlines recently in the public domain,” the statement read.

The association said it is befitting to break its silence in retaliation to those who are out to defame and slander its members.

“In an attempt to boost viewership ratings, the catastrophic repercussions are ignored. That itself is reason enough for all to seriously introspect and put an end to the ill-informed debates and personal opinions being voiced by all and sundry.”

CINTAA’s statement comes days after the Producers Guild of India called out the media for “peddling” what it termed “clickbait journalism” following the death of Rajput and trying to paint Bollywood as a “murky den of substance abuse and criminality”.

The Guild, headed by producer Siddharth Roy Kapur and consisting of powerful producers like Aditya Chopra, Aamir Khan, Karan Johar, Shah Rukh Khan and Vishal Bhardwaj, asked the media to stop fanning the flames and said “common human decency” is more important than advertising revenues and ratings.

CINTAA further said as a fraternity, they too want a fair investigation but till the truth is not unearthed, a person’s reputation should not be maligned.

“… Their livelihood should not be snatched away, their self-esteem should not be trampled upon and their integrity should not be questioned,” the statement read.

Referring to safety and security of women during shoots, the film body said they advocate and uphold the dignity of women and have put in place all the necessary checks and balances at the work spots.

“Any instances of disrespect to our female colleagues is a matter of serious concern and we do adopt taking the severest of actions and punishments to the offenders. Pertinent to add that the Me Too movement that emerged for sexual abuse has been very appropriate.”

CINTAA said the film industry is a “safe haven” and though “some bad elements may exist” and by “recognising and weeding them out”, they are constantly “looking to improve”.

“However, stretching beyond one’s wildest imagination, the exuberance showcased by some anchors to capture eyeballs is outrageous and without any hard evidence. We deeply condemn such impetuous topics of debate that tarnishes the image of a whole community.” PTI