Amidst the rising cases of Coronavirus in the country, Lutyens’ journalist Barkha Dutt has hit the streets. In what appears like bid to restore her dwindling reputation in journalistic circles and among her viewers, she has decided to up her ‘ground reporting’ in such challenging times.
From camping outside civil hospitals to crematoriums, Barkha has been sharing her pictures where she sits on an upturned tin can and puts her laptop on upturned plastic dustbins to bring us ground report. It is not yet clear why Barkha, who could quite possibly afford portable desks, has resorted to upturned tin cans as desks.
Wooden logs, used for cremation, could also be seen in the background of the image. While posting such shocking visuals, Barkha Dutt wrote, “In these apocalyptic times, we learn how to survive, innovate & adapt so we can still report in the toughest situations. From a cremation ground in Surat, an overturned plastic bucket & a cardboard box is my ‘studio’.”
On Sunday (April 18), she had shared images of family members of Coronavirus patients, who had died at the Civil Hospital in Surat. Barkha Dutt tweeted, “Among toughest moments I’ve reported ever, waiting with families at mortuary in Civil Hospital, Surat, as they’re instructed to identify bodies wheeled up a ramp, to be taken away then for COVID protocol funerals. No goodbye hug, no touch, just- “He’s mine” from afar.”
In another tweet on Saturday (April 17), Barkha Dutt shared her picture from the site of Ramnath Ghela cremation centre in Surat. Far from making the story the epicentre, she tweeted her picture and claimed that the iron furnaces used for cremation have melted due to overuse. “Reporting from the Ramnath Ghela cremation site in Surat where the fire bridges in the iron furnaces have melted from too many cremations and clouds of smoke rise up above the ground to mark the imprint of the SecondWave,” she added.
A day prior to this, the Lutyens’ journalist had shared another story from Ghatkopar cremation ground. And yet again, she was at the epicentre of the story. Her laptop was carefully placed over a wooden box while she sat on the ground. In her tweet, she said, “When you’re reporting a crisis you learn where you pause is where your ‘studio’ is. On the pavement outside Ghatkopar cremation ground where a man says to me: “First no room at hospital, now no room at the Shamshan Ghat.”
While the situation on ground is indeed grim, people on social media have been calling out the dramatics by journalists who could have perhaps focused on the news instead of their brand building.
Netizens call out Barkha Dutt on social media
The repetitive use of wooden boxes as support for her laptop, attempts to fearmonger the public about the Coronavirus crisis through stories on deaths/ crematoriums and morgues and her ‘self-obsession’ did not miss the public eye. Slamming her for theatrics, one Twitter user (@i_sid007) wrote, “You are such a drama when you can easily get a foldable laptop table for as little as 600 rs anywhere …”
You are such a drama when you can easily get a foldable laptop table for as little as 600 rs anywhere …😏— SID (Mask on)🚩🇮🇳🚩 (@i_sid007) April 16, 2021
A similar point was raised by another Twitter user (@Bassappamv). He wrote, “Mumbai to Surat average flight price round trip Rs.6000. By this you can buy very good mobile furniture. Don’t do drama sitting on floor.”
Mumbai to Surat average flight price round trip Rs.6000.— 𝓑𝓪𝓼𝓪𝓹𝓹𝓪 𝓜 𝓥𝓮𝓷𝓴𝓪𝓽𝓪𝓹𝓾𝓻 (@Basappamv) April 17, 2021
By this you can buy very good mobile furniture.
Don’t do drama sitting on floor 😹
Others slammed her for clicking images alongside families mourning the death of their loved ones. Shivangi asked, “Why would you click your picture there? How shameful?” When one user named Shashank Baranwal pointed out about her photo Op, he was immediately blocked by the Lutyens’ journalist.
WHY WOULD YOU CLICK YOUR PICTURE THERE? HOW SHAMEFUL!— Shivangi (@ChoubeyShivangi) April 18, 2021
Finally The so called journalists reacted and got offended by 3-4 words— SHASHANK BARANWAL (@followshashank1) April 19, 2021
Great going pic.twitter.com/kmDnkSLDPf
Twitter user Zafar Abbas criticised the narcissism of Barkha Dutt. He wrote, “She did it again…This lady is self obsessed. Crime reporters do it as a normal practice outside mortuaries. Last time it was her dirty shoes when she felt it was only hers that get dirty. Kamaal hai..Aisi situation me bhi ‘Me, I and Myself “
She did it again…This lady is self obsessed. Crime reporters do it as a normal practice outside mortuaries. Last time it was her dirty shoes when she felt it was only hers that get dirty. Kamaal hai..Aisi situation me bhi ‘Me, I and Myself ” !— Zafar Abbas (@zafarabbaszaidi) April 18, 2021
Barkha Dutt was also slammed for doing politics over dead bodies. Col Hunny Bakshi inquired, “Where is that queue (of corpses), long line she is talking about ?”
Where is that queue, long line she is talking about ?#RUDALI— Col Hunny Bakshi, VSM (@colhunnybakshi) April 16, 2021
Can journalism around dead bodies be termed as Vulture journalism ….— finproedge (@finproedge2) April 17, 2021
More the people die more people will log on to @BDUTT channel.
Guess what she would be wishing now……. ?
Another user (@finproedge2) said, “Can journalism around dead bodies be termed as Vulture journalism ….More the people die more people will log on to @BDUTT channel. Guess what she would be wishing now…….?” Despite her attempts to project herself as an ‘independent journalist’ who has not lost the common touch, Barkha Dutt ended up exposing her self -obsession, ability to do theatrics to draw more eyeballs and draw political influence from the corpses of the deceased Coronavirus patients.