Sheela Alphons, wife to Union minister for tourism Alphons Kannanthanam, has had a tough time escaping the limelight ever since her husband’s surprise entry into the NDA government in the Centre earlier this month.
The shy yet candid housewife from Kottayam was thrown into the world of Internet trolls, unflattering memes and Dubsmash videos after a Malayalam news channel caught her off-guard and broadcast a conversation, which was supposedly off-the-record, after Alphons' swearing-in at New Delhi.
Sheela's casual and excited chat with the reporter, on how close Alphons is to PM Narendra Modi and other national leaders, was aired by the channel wrapped with humorous dialogues from Malayalam films. The video went viral on social media platforms, with lakhs of people watching it and thousands making uncomplimentary comments on her appearance and slang.
Of course, everyone likes a little fun and entertainment but there was also an ethical issue behind the whole scenario, which was never seen discussed anywhere, unfortunately.
Before the start of the conversation, Sheela can be heard asking the reporter whether they are recording it and he responds in the negative. This proves that whatever she said after that was clearly meant to be off the record. It also makes the broadcast of the now-infamous conversation a decision made in poor taste.
If you are a journalist, you'd know that interviewees often tell you things off the record. Broadcasting such a chat is against basic media ethics and is hitting below the belt. To make matters worse, the channel mixed the conversation with funny yet occasionally crude movie clippings, making their agenda clear. Media ethics can go for a toss as long as the TRPs are achieved.
The media in Kerala, especially the TV channels, have a reputation of pushing things a tad too far in their hunt for ratings. Incidents like these will only help enhance that reputation and dissuade celebrities from associating and cooperating with the channels in the future.
(Photo: YouTube screengrab)