A few days ago, a couple of entertainment media portals had published some shocking news about Tollywood star Vijay Deverakonda, where they had accused of him not sticking to his word of helping the poor and needy during lockdown. Laying out an elaborate plan, they highlighted how Deverakonda's Middle Class Fund, which the actor had begun to help those sans income or savings during lockdown, is backtracking on its promise of supplying essential items worth Rs. 1000 to as many as 77,000 people — the number of people who ended up applying for the charity.
Furthermore, these portals announced that the Arjun Reddy's star's foundation has only managed to gather allot Rs. 75 lakh for his endeavour, when it needed to the tune of Rs. 8 crore, adding that out of the allotted money, only Rs. 22 lakh has been spent for just 6000 people till date, questioning where the rest of the money has gone and why the foundation had announced its decision to help so many people in the first place, making it all sound like some elaborate scam. The figures get more baffling as said portals claimed that the actor and his trust have hitherto only helped 2200 (the numbers kept reducing by magic) while the rest of "the poor guys who applied for the aid must be waiting for a phone call" (we've quoted their story verbatim on this line).
"Why should he collect money from his fans in the name of donations?"..."Vijay Devarakonda disappointed 75000 poor people by showing them Rs 1000 carrot" were some of the other distasteful statements written by these so-called journalistic sites. Heck, the title itself read "Vijay Deverakonda insulting poor people", which brings us to the most important, and frankly, only relevant query: What's your evidence?
These aren't some basic linkup or breakup or gossip rumours of the kind. These are serious allegations, with black-and-white numbers, and as such, cannot and should not be published without verification or a quote from a verified source. Anything else amounts to character assassination. The writers and editors in question even had the gall to publish the title without a question mark at the end (not that it would amount to anything less than character assassination given the severity of the allegations).
Vijay Deverakonda has now come forth with a very logical and balanced counter to these unverified allegations, justifiably lambasting these media houses from practising unethical journalism and spreading fake news, particularly when they don't get ads and interviews from the film stars they pursue. Fellow Telugu moviestars like Mahesh Babu have come out in his suport. Read his expostulation below:
"They expect ads and interviews from us (film stars). If we don't give them, they throw mud at us, they try their best to suppress our films right after it releases. What is their qualification? How do they rate our films? And why do people make decisions based on what these unethical people, lacking in commonsense, write? A website wrote that only 2200 people have been reached out by us so far. It's actually 2200 families. Some experienced people are working for TDF (The Deverakonda Foundation). They have had to slog for hours together every day shortlisting the needy people. It's not my fans who have given us Rs 50 lakh. It's middle-class people who know the pain of their fellow classes who did so. If you want to know the good done by our Foundation, ask the poor woman from Khammam who is not able to earn Rs 10 on each form she fills up at an MRO office because of the lockdown. Who are these handful of conspiring media people to demand donations from me? We give you ads. You survive because of us. Someone has written that I have insulted poor people. Any Standard V passout can understand the details we are putting out on my website every day. We give updates every 30 minutes."
Watch the Geetha Govindam star's entire video below:
Now, the media usually gets away with almost everything under the guise of "Freedom of Press". But, is this how you abuse that freedom? Isn't that freedom meant to be unflinching in the face of fear while spreading the truth or is it supposed to arm you to manipulate your unsuspecting readers/viewers or malign those who don't toe your line? Doesn't this "freedom" come with a lot of responsibility? Aren't you turning into the same monster against whom this freedom was handed to protect you? Isn't this freedom, like any freedom, in danger of being taken away if it keeps being taken for granted? We've already seen how Mumbai Police recently grilled and have filed defamatory charges against a well-known editor who loves to conduct screaming matches on his channel. Would Vijay Deverakonda be wrong if he decides to sue these so-called entertainment media portals tomorrow? As fellow journalists, we urge our brethren to respect the term "Freedom of Press", lest that freedom no longer remains.
Stay tuned to BollywoodLife for the latest scoops and updates from Bollywood, Hollywood, South, TV and Web-Series.
Click to join us on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram. Also follow us on Facebook Messenger for latest updates.