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Home Fact-Check Top Lies spread by the Indian Media in May 2015

Top Lies spread by the Indian Media in May 2015

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1. 2nd May 2015: India Today –  Arun Shourie Interview

Shourie said many things in his interview, but some he did not say at all, but were still attributed to him. We had pointed them put here. To study one example, India Today said Shourie had called the trio of Modi, Jaitley and Amit Shah “Timurti”. This word however was missing from the transcript of the interview. In the video of the interview, one can clearly see, Thapar, the interviewer first mentioned “Trimurti”, to which Shourie said “Trimurt?! Big Word..” and moved on. Now, India Today edited the transcript and put “Trimurti” in Shourie’s part without mentioning that Thapar had brought in the word.

2. 3rd May 2015: NDTV – Major aftershock felt in Nepal

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This particular incident may not be a major lie, but we felt it should be documented because it is symptomatic of the entire reporting by Indian Media of the Nepal tragedy, and probably such reporting led to the hashtag  #GoHomeIndianMedia being trended by Nepalis. First see how NDTV reported this:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsTimes Now had this to say about the same incident

Times Now’s reporting was confirmed by a journalist who was actually in Nepal when the tremors were felt:

NDTV blew up a “mild, small tremor” into a “major aftershock” just to get eyeballs, which is evident from the fact that NDTV’s tweet got double the RTs of Times Now’s tweet. 

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3. 4th May 2015 –  ABPNews – Arvind Kejriwal calls Akshay Kumar’s Gabbar is Back “Nonsensical”

In March, India Today fell for a satirical piece in their own group concern’s post, and now in May, ABP News reported another piece of satire as news. In Times of India’s “Mocktail” section, there appeared a piece which said “Arvind Kejriwal calls Akshay Kumar’s latest movie nonsensical”. There was clear, bold disclaimer too, clarifying this was satire:

“Stories in Mocktale are works of fiction intended to bring a smile to your face. They bear no connection to events and characters in real life.”

Still ABP News, tweeted this as a real news item, and even made a report on the same. Luckily they realised their error and apologised and deleted the post and tweet. 

4. 4th May 2015 – NDTV, CNN-IBN, Firstpost – National Disaster Response Force asked by Nepalese government to withdraw its rescue teams

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We had done a separate post on this. Nepal had asked all International Search and Rescue teams, to return back, as already 8-10 days had passed from the day of the earthquake and chances of finding anyone alive had greatly reduced. This is a standard practice in most such disasters. But Indian media chose to report that only NDRF i.e. India’s team was asked to go back, and then juxtaposed this against the  hashtag which had trended the earlier day.

5. 5th May 2015 –  Times of India – Mani Ratnam suffers cardiac attack, hospitalized

Times of India later changed this story and corrected it with the facts that Mani Ratnam had in fact gone for a routing check-up in a Delhi hospital, and had not suffered a heart attack. But, they forgot to update this news in Mumbai Mirror, and the post there, managed to give intricate details about Mani Ratnam’s “heart-attack”: “Ratnam was playing golf at the Royal Spring Golf Course in Srinagar around 1 pm on Sunday when he complained of chest-pain and was immediately rushed to the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, about 7 km away from the state’s capital.

6. 6th May 2015 –  IndiaTV – Cricketer Ravindra Jadeja takes poor jibe on Salman Khan

IndiaTV mistook a parody Ravindra Jadeja twitter handle for the real handle of cricketer Jadeja and attributed a tweet of this parody to the cricketer. They later corrected their story. 

7. 7th May 2015 – Indian Express and later Firstpost Doordarshan to telecast a show on Modi’s life and other leaders from Ghanchi community.

We had a separate post on this issue, where we had explained all the logical fallacies in the Indian Express report. The report claimed, only on the statement of a producer that Doordarshan had approved a serial to be telecast, over 128 episodes and 10 years, to showcase lives of leaders from Modi’s community (ghanchi), including kings like Chandragupta Maurya and Ashoka. They had not bothered to ask for a confirmation from Doordarshan, and once the chiefs of Prasar Bharti and Doordarshan were informed about this hitjob, they denied any such show. Indian Express then was forced to put up a clarification. 

8. 7th May 2015 – Forbes, followed by Quartz India – Are Modi’s Twitter Follower Numbers ‘Boosted’?

This piece claimed that as per their study, on April 7, Modi added 2.8lac followers to his account, a huge jump for a single day. They believed these were “boosted” and it was the “action of some of his supporters who see the number of Twitter followers as a sign of national pride”. The post also claimed that Queries to Twitter and Burson-Marsteller on Modi’s follower numbers went unanswered”. Later, when Twitter India responded, Forbes had to update its post because of the clearly erroneus piece. As it turns out, Twitter clarified that the sudden surge on one particular day – April 7 – was because his off-line followers had been added to his online following. (The offline followers were following Modi via text through their  mobile phones.). Forbes and Quartz later updated their stories. 

9. 9th May 2015 –  All Media –  Hostage Crisis at Marenga 

This is one time even we do not know what the truth is. Media reported that there was a hostage situation in Marenga village, hours before PM Modi was to visit the next village. What was weird was every media house had a different number of hostages, as a twitter user summarized here:


Obviously, such high figures thrown around by Media caused panic on Social Media. Eventually, later in the day, Business Standard reported that Inspector General (IG) of Bastar told media-persons that only 5-6 people were taken hostage. 

10. 9th May 2015 – Times of India and The New Indian Express – Sadhvi Prachi is a BJP MP.

In March 2015 we had highlighted that based on a PTI report, all media houses had claimed a VHP leader from UP Sadhvi Prachi, was a BJP MP, when she was at best a BJP member. This month MSM like Times of India and others repeated this lie inspite of being corrected by us earlier. We had a separate post on this.

11. 11th May 2015 – ANI News – Maharashtra Govt planning to start an Urdu class in Marathi medium schools

Every other media house reported this news correctly, i.e., State revenue minister Eknath Khadse said that Urdu-medium schools must teach Marathi. But ANI managed to post a tweet saying the exact opposite, that Khdase said Urdu should be taught in Marathi medium schools. Not only is this diametrically opposite, it doesn’t make sense either. Since it is natural to expect the local language to be taught in schools, i.e. Marathi in Urdu schools, and in fact there are laws already in place in Maharashtra which enforce this. 

12. 12th May 2015 – Indian Express and others – Baba Ramdev to receive Padma Award

This news came up in January 2015, but it has been revealed to be lies only now. On 23rd January, Indian Express and others had reported that Baba Ramdev, among others would receive the Padma Award on Republic Day. In fact, seeing the multiple reports, Ramdev to fell for them and wrote a letter to Rajnath Singh declining the Padma Award. But by 29th January, DNA carried a report that a Home Ministry official said that Ramdev was never considered for the award. It also said that a Ramdev aide said they had never received any official communication, but declined the award only based on media reports. The full truth came out now, when an RTI response revealed that Ramdev was never considered for the award.

13. 13th May 2015 – Indian Express – Preity Zinta’s interview on Salman Khan

On 13th May, Preity Zinta too got a taste of Indian Express’s imaginative news manufacturing. She took to twitter to clarify that she had not spoken about Salman Khan in the press at all, still Indian Express has printed an interview of her discussing Salman Khan:

14. 15th May 2015 –  Scroll.in and Quartz – Government set to send millions of children back into exploitative labour

We had written a separate post on this, where we showed how Scroll.in deliberately twisted facts, and spouted outright lies, to write yet another anti-Modi propaganda piece. Without any proof, they claimed that the new amendments to child labour would harm children and that the term “family enterprises” was an “euphemism” for hazardous industry. This in spite of the fact that the Government notification clearly spelt out the the hazardous industries, the same which Scroll claimed in their post. Eventually Scroll.in backtracked and changed their article multiple times surreptitiously. 

15. 18th May 2015 –  All Media – Modi said “Earlier, you felt ashamed of being born Indian,”

This alleged remark from Modi, was first carried by The Hindu, and then spread across all media. It was subjected to lot of debate and criticism too, with alleged journalists too batting for being proud of being an Indian, when in the past, they too had made similar remarks. But did Modi really say this? If we see this video of the original speech, this is what Modi said:

Within one year, “let it be, we are sunk, nothing will happen, God save us, wonder what misdeeds we committed in our previous life that we were born in India”, from this mentality, now the world is saying, India is the fastest growing country”

From the above, it is clear that Modi never said the word “ashamed” or the phrase “ashamed to be an Indian”. All he said was while earlier people cursed their plight in India, now the world is saying India is seeing better days. Yet Mainstream media chose to twist these words and tried to portray Modi as anti-India.

16. 19th May 2015 – IndiaToday- BJP’s friend Ramdev calls Modi govt arrogant

In the title of this article, IndiaToday claimed that Ramdev called Modi’s Government arrogant. If one read the actual text of the article, “calls Modi Government arrogant” changed to “few BJP leaders have become arrogant”. If one saw the actual video of the interview, one can see that first Ramdev said that like all people who come to power, a few of them have changed their contact numbers. He clearly spelt out that top leaders like Jaitley, Amit Shah etc are still accessible, but some lower level people have changed their numbers. Later, when the reporter pressed further, Ramdev said that some people have become arrogant. He did not say whether they are from the party, or the Government. But he definitely did not call “Modi Government Arrogant” as claimed by IndiaToday

17. 19th May 2015 –  All Media – ‘Told Russian woman I can show how to remove dhoti,’ says MP Home Minister Babulal Gaur 

While most media based its reports on “local media” and claimed that Madhya Pradesh Minister Babulal Gaur made lewd remarks to a Russian woman, the truth was different. What MSM like Indian Express claimed Gaur said:

“I told her I can’t teach you how to wear it, but I can certainly teach you how to remove it, but that too later not now,’’ 

But as can be seen from this video of the speech itself, Gaur said something quite different:

“She asked, ‘How you wear this dhoti, where is chain’. I said ‘no chain’. She asked, ‘is there a belt?’. I said ‘no’. She asked, ‘How do you wear it?’. I said ‘How do I open and show you here?'”

18. 20th May 2015 – ANI News – Separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s supporters raise Pakistani flags

While in the above tweet, ANI claimed that at a rally in Srinagar, supporters of Separatist leadet, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s supporters carried Pakistani flags, it was evident from the picture in their own tweet that the flags were not Pakistani national flags, since they did not have the white vertical strip which the Pakistani flag has. In all probability they were Islamic flags or the flags of some party. 

19. 21st May 2015 – Indian Express (Opinion Piece by Ram Guha) – Smriti Irani’s “diabolical scheme” of faculty mobility.

Indian Express was at it again, this time via Ram Guha. Guha in his “opinion piece” claimed Smriti Irani was destroying India’s education system. One of his assertions was a “diabolical scheme”, “most likely the work of political apparatchiks”, which involved faculty mobility. Under this scheme he said, faculty from Delhi University could be transferred to a “purgatory” like Mizoram, if the Goverment was unhappy with them. 

What Guha omitted to tell us was, firstly, this scheme was a recommendation of the Working Group of Vice Chancellors, and not of “political apparatchiks”. Secondly, it was only a proposal, which was not even accepted by HRD ministry till now, let alone being a “diabolical scheme” of Smriti Irani. Thirdly, Guha conveniently forhot that this scheme was in fact mooted by our ex-HRD minister Kapil Sibal when he had said “We want to create an eco-system that allows for the mobility of students and faculty” way back in 2009. 

20. 25th May 2015 – NDTV – In High-Stakes Battle With Centre, Arvind Kejriwal Scores Big Win in Court

This news has two parts. Firstly, Arvind Kejriwal foolishly tweeted that this judgement was a victory for him, when in fact it was clearly not, as we had explained here. While media does have to report this claim of Kejriwal, however full of lies it maybe, NDTV decided to add their own judgement to it, and backed Kejriwal’s half baked claims. Firstly, NDTV claimed “in battle with centre, Kejriwal scores big win”, when in fact in the on-going case, the Centre was not even a party to the proceedings. It further said Kejriwal “has received solid vindication in court”, which again is wrong since the court ruling applied only to that specific case, and the case was totally different from the other matter in which Kejriwal is in a tussle with the LG. 

For MSM lies of previous months, please check the following links:

January 2015: 7 Lies

February 2015: 8 Lies

March 2015: 9 Lies

April 2015: 18 Lies



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