Reports

Did BBC declare Congress as one of the most corrupt political parties in the world?

A list of top 10 most corrupt political parties is being shared on the social media in the last couple of days and it shows Congress being on number 4. Chances are that you might have received the same message as a WhatsApp forward in various forms, such as this:

10 most corrupt political parties of the world

The viral list being circulated (source)

The above list is being claimed to be published by the BBC, however, if you one cares to look closely at the source, it becomes apparent that the list is published on a website named “BBC News Point”.

This website is no way related to the British Broadcasting Corporation, the public broadcaster of the United Kingdom.

On further investigation, we found that this website, sounding like a sister website of BBC, was most probably being operated by Pakistanis. In fact, people in India most likely picked this up from Pakistani social media users, who shared the “news” because the list declared Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s party as the most corrupt one:


Many of those Pakistanis sharing the report were supporters of Imran Khan, the cricketer turned politician who is often termed as Arvind Kejriwal of Pakistan, enjoying similar support system online.

One can’t rule out that perhaps the ‘fake BBC website’ is operated by Imran Khan supporters because another article on the same website – published a day before the article containing the list of most corrupt political parties – lists 10 most popular political parties in the word, and lists Imran Khan’s party only the second behind USA’s Democratic Party!

The website cites no methodology or source for creating such lists and it appears that they randomly put names of political parties with primary aim of showing Imran Khan is good light while running down his political opponents.

So this is a case of a random listicle being taken seriously, and for sure the original BBC has not published any list that puts Congress party as one of the most corrupt political parties in the world. This is similar to the case when the mainstream media had confused a fake CNN website as being genuine CNN website. You can read about that incident here.

In fact, this ‘fake BBC website’ appears to have fooled the Google search’s algorithm too apart from common users, as the same link is being shown as a featured result when one googles “most corrupt political party in the world” today:

Google search snapshot

Google search results as at 4.15 PM on 19 March 2017

This reminds one of the incident from a few years back, when the Congress party appeared as top result when one googled the same phrase:

Most corrupt political party

Congress was shown as the most corrupt political party even in 2013 due to Google search algorithm (source)

We want to caution the readers that just because Google search results appear to suggest so, this can’t be taken as a “fact” even though it’s factually correct that governments headed by the Congress party in India have presided over many scams and have been found indulged in corrupt practices.

To quantify “corruption” and come up with any list or ranking that can be taken seriously, one would need proper methodology and rigorous data analysis – both of which are lacking in such claims.

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