Top Lies spread by the Indian Media in June 2015

1. 7th June 2015: Times of India –  Maggi clears lead test in Karnataka, won’t be banned

There was a lot of confusion on the Maggi issue, and Times of India was one of the players. On 7th June, Times of India said that Maggi would not be banned in Karnataka, following a test in a private lab, authorized by the Government. Curiously, on the same day, The Hindu ran a story which said the opposite. The Hindu claimed that Maggi would indeed be banned in Karnataka. By 19th June, finally Times of India got its act right and reported that Karnataka Government had ordered Nestle to burn its Maggi stock.

2. 10th June 2015: ANI News/Times of India – Photo of Indian Army involved in Myanmar operation

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It started with ANI News’s twitter handle posting the following tweet:

While ANI News claimed this picture was from the recent anti-terror operation, alert users realised that it was in fact at least 2-3 years old. The next day Times of India went one step forward and published the picture on the front page, with all the faces of the soldiers visible and even proclaimed it was “issued by the defence ministry”. Immediately, Ministry of Defence issued a clarification that no picture was issued by them relating to action in Myanmar:

Editor of ANI news Smita Prakash claimed that the picture was “authorised to be released”, but at the end of the day, the fact remains this was an old picture and had no connection with the Myanmar ambush, yet was shown as such by the media.

3. 15 June 2015: All Media – Indian Army’s importance diminished due to lack of wars: Parrikar

What was a frank, but possibly ill-worded statement from Defence Minister Parrikar, was twisted way out of proportion by many in the media. Firstpost, even went to the extent of saying Parrikar has a “hunger for war and a disdain for the army”. Parrikar, was instantly portrayed as a warmongerer. The truth of course, was different. One look at his complete sentence, gives us the context and also an important disclaimer ignored by most media:

“I have written to many Chief Ministers [over defence matters]. Some have acted on it and at many places, it [response] has ended. The primary reason for this is that we have not been to war for 40-50 years. I don’t mean to say that we should go to war. I mean to say that without war the Army’s importance has diminished,”

Firstly, Parrikar was speaking in the context of State Governments not giving due importance to needs and requests of the Defence Forces. Secondly, Parrikar clearly says “I don’t mean to say that we should go to war“, before saying that Army’s importance has diminished. Yet, he was painted as a warmongerer by the media, and hence he has recently taken the decision to avoid the media.

4. 18 June 2015: Indian Express – IIT JEE Advanced 2015 results out, MP girl Satvat Jagwani tops exam

Indian Express declared that the IIT JEE advanced topper was a “girl” named Satvat Jagwani. This, even as other news reports claimed Satvat Jagwani was a boy. Eventually it was clear that Indian Express had yet again goofed up. Later Indian Express rectified the story and hence we do not have a screenshot of the original news story. But there is adequate information to support the claim that Indian Express messed up. This user tweeted about the same, and even in the comments section of the Indian Express piece, a reader has asked Indian Express to change the story URL from “girl” to “boy”.

5. 19 June 2015: IANS/Times of India – India conspicuous by absence at Russian economic forum

Times of India, relying on an IANS report, posted this highly misleading headline on 19th June. The body of the article though made it clear that India did send a high-level delegation. Apparently, the only “absence” was at a “morning roundtable”, where Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister for Commerce did not come. Even this “absence” was only because of Protocol, as her Russian counterpart couldn’t make it to the roundtable, and this fact too was reported by the very same news article. Yet a sensationalist headline was used by Times of India, to spread untruths. Further, the Minister herself cast aspersions on not only the headline, but also the content of the IANS report:

6. 23 June 2015: Firstpost – AIMPLB issues call to arms against rising tide of Hindutva

On reading this headline, one would imagine AIMPLB has asked Muslims to begin hostile activities against Hindutva. But once we read the article we find something different. The problem here is Firstpost has tried to sensationalize the issue by adding a “call to arms” phrase, which generally means calling people to take up hostile or military activities. The truth however, is that AIMPLB merely asked to start a campaign to spread their views, and not any violent activity. This is evident when one reads the quoted text in the article.

7. 23 June 2015: TimesNow – Rajasthan cabinet passes resolution thanking Nitin Gadkari for giving clean chit to Vasundhara Raje in #Lalitgate

That Times Now is desperate for a resignation is now apparent. What makes it even more clear is how they are willing to misreport events just to suit their campaign. Following tweets will highlight the same:

8. 24 June 2015: Firstpost – Aadhaar number mandatory in simplified IT Returns 

Firstpost once again gets it wrong. If only Firstpost had bothered to actually see the new IT Returns, the would have realised that the Aadhar number is not mandatory. It even defies logic since Aadhar coverage has not even reached some parts of the country. A screenshot of the IT return makes it clear:

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9. 24 June 2015: Hindustan Times – Gautam Adani, PM Modi’s constant companion on overseas trips

This news report was out in April, but only now the truth has come out. If you read the report, it gives an impression that Adani has been “constantly” accompanying Modi on foreign trips. The piece starts with “Everywhere that Prime Minister Narendra Modi goes, it seems, Gautam Adani is sure to go”, thus making it amply clear, that if not all, Adani accompanies most of Modi’s visits. This theory has been trashed by Adani himself, in an interview now. He says:

“Since becoming the PM, Mr Modi has travelled to 18 countries. As a part of the CEO delegation accompanying him, I have travelled to just 4 – Japan, USA, Australia, and Europe.”

There are some errors in the statement. Firstly Europe is technically not a country. But Modi visited only France and Germany in that trip. So that makes 5 countries. Also, Modi has visited 20 countries till date. So Adani’s self-confessed score is 5/20, hardly “constant”. Even the Hindustan Times article states that Adani has been to  United States, Australia, Brazil, France, Canada and Japan (Brazil & Canada not mentioned by Adani). Even if we go by Hindustan Times’ count, Adani scores just 6/20. Does that qualify to be called a “constant companion”?

10. 25 June 2015: Economic Times – Housing.com CEO Rahul Yadav quits again

We had written a separate post on this, detailing how Economic Times put up various versions of this story, all denied by Rahul Yadav himself, and also the obvious conflict of interest between which exists since Times Group owns a company which is Housing.com’s rival. Times Group and Rahul Yadav have a history of being at each other, possibly for such reasons alone.

11. 25 June 2015: The Indian Express – Interview with Malegaon blast special public prosecutor Ms Salian

In order to maintain a particular slant, Indian Express chose to post this story without asking the NIA their version at all. Thus many claims made in the article have turned out to be inaccurate. We had written a separate post on the same here. Firstly, while Salian claims she wants to ask NIA to be relieved from her duty, she has already been recommended to be dropped as a prosecutor, almost 10 days before her interview. Secondly, she hasn’t been “sidelined” in the process, but rules have been followed which says at initial stages, a junior officer handles the case. the case would go to the prosecutor, only at trial stage.

12. 27 June 2015: ABP News –  Vasundhara Raje Liplock with Kiran Mazumdar Shaw.

In their show called “Vyakti Vishesh”, based on Vasundhara Raje, ABP News used the following, 9-year-old, odd angle picture and claimed it was a liplock:

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(This image was used by ABP News, at around 1.30 minutes into the video, with this voice-over: “..Aur Kabhi woh camera ke saamne, Liplock ki wajah se vivaadon mein ghir jaati hain”

This, even though Economic Times, which had originally published the photo way back in 2006, had then itself issued a clarification that ” It was bad camera angle that gives the impression of a kiss on the lip, in what is just a friendly embrace”. Even then, the clarification was given only because TV channels had gone crazy using titles like “Maharani Ka Chumban” and  ‘Shahi Kiss’ for this picture. The video is now deleted from the site.

13. 27 June 2015: NDTV – Lalit Modi used Sushma Swaraj’s help to go globe trotting.

NDTV’s Sreenivasan Jain, in his much hyped show titled “Truth vs Hype”, said this –

“Why did she not sanction only limited travel to Portugal? Lalit Modi used these 2 year travel papers with no conditions, to go globe trotting”

Later, in his hastily drafted letter, which was part of damage control after Lalit Modi exposed him on twitter, Jain once again takes a sly jibe:

“Modi was recently in Cuba, part of his ‘humanitarian’ world tour which also included Madrid, Ibiza and Venice”

Both the times, he deliberately chooses to hide 2 important facts:

1. As per own public admission on twitter, Susma Swaraj clearly said she only told the British High Commissioner to “examine Lalit Modi’s request as per British rules” and that if “they choose to give travel documents, it wont affect Indo-UK relations”. From this it is clear, unlike what Jain claimed Swaraj did not “sanction non-Portugal travel” nor did she give him “unconditional travel papers for 2 years”. She only told UK to do as they deem fit. If at all Lalit Modi got such documents for 2 years, it was due to the UK Government

2. Jain also forgot to mention that within a month of such “help” from Swaraj, the Delhi High Court too offered greater “help” to Lalit Modi, by giving him his passport back. So all of his trips post August 2014, could very well have been based on this passport. Why would he need travel papers when he has got his passport back?

By deliberately hiding these two facts, Sreenivasan Jain in effect lied on his show “Truth vs Hype” that Sushma Swaraj allowed Modi to go globetrotting.

14. 28 June 2015: Times of India/PTI – Picture of a Lion saving her cub from Gir floods

Times of India, in some of its print editions, carried a picture of a Lioness jumping over water, with her cub held in her mouth. The image was credited to PTI. Times of India claimed that this was a picture from the flash floods at Gir. The truth however, is that picture was from 2014, shot in Kenya, with credits given to “Rex Features”. Greek photographer Kyriakos Kaziras captured moment during a trip in December 2013. Even more amazingly, Times of India Ahmedabad, printed the same photo and set the record straight that the picture was actually from Kenya. So comically, Times of India Ahmedabad knew, what many other offices of Times of India had no idea about?

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15. 29 June 2015: PTI/DNA – Shripad Naik’s maid found murdered at his Goa home

We had tweeted this out with all the discrepancies here. DNA’s headline said the maid was murdered “at” Shripad Naik’s house. The body of the same article said, she was murdered “near” Shripad Naik’s house. The fact was that she was actually murdered in her own hut, which was located near Shripad Naik’s house. This was clearly reported by Times of India who had a local reporter, unlike DNA, which relied on a PTI story. DNA later accepted the mistake and corrected the headline.

16. 29 June 2015: Economic Times –  Section 377 may be scrapped says Sadanand Gowda. 

Economic Times reported that Union Law Minister, Sadanand Gowda had indicated that Section 377, that criminalizes unnatural sex, may go. This was on the back of the decision from Supreme Court of USA. Atleast, this was the headline given by them. But if one looked at the body, where the minister was actually quoted, one saw this:

“The mood appears to be in favour of it. But it can be done only after widespread consultations and after taking all views into account”

Of course, this did not match with the headline. Gowda probably wanted to say that any decision will be taken after widespread consultations. Immediately Gowda clarified saying this:

“I never said that, I was misquoted. The topic was on USA legalising same-sex marriage. I just said that such decisions would need wide discussions in India”

Even on twitter, he repeatedly asked Economic Times to take down the report, which the eventually did.

17. 29 June 2015: IndiaSamwad – Kejriwal’s family enjoyed vacations in Switzerland

This “source” based news, was an “exclusive” of IndiaSamwad. The story said:

“to relieve themselves from the scorching heat of Delhi, Kejriwal’s wife Sunita and his children were cooling their heels in Switzerland”

They gave the impressions that an Aam Aadmi’s family, was “holidaying” in “the world’s most expensive place”. The truth came out later, from the executive editor of IndiaSamwad himself. He clarified that Sunita Kejriwal, “was on foriegn tour sponsored by Finance Ministry.” and that “40 IRS officers were selected for tour”. He also tweeted that her kids joined her later, and the cost of their tickets, was met from a loan taken by Mrs Kejriwal, on her PPF balance.

18. 30 June 2015: Economic Times – Quickr.com to buy Housing.com

Any report by any Times Group publication, on Housing.com is always dubious, because they have a conflict of interest, and a legal battle going on too, as we explained here. And to add to this, the story of Housing.com being sold also seems to be untrue. Especially when you see this email, sent by Housing.com CEO sent to his employees. Rahul Yadav is suggesting that since Times group is writing this this story, he is just playing around with media at large, by giving contradictory statements. Even the Economic Times story, Rahul Yadav is quoted to have said “Joke of the year” while responding to this story.

19. 30 June 2015: All Media – Arvind Kejriwal’s electricity bill over 1 lakh in 2 months

There are multiple aspects in this story, which media might have gotten wrong. We had mentioned all of them here. While some matters arent yet clear, we surely know that Media lied when they said the 1 lakh electricity bill was of Arvind Kejriwal. Fact is, Kejriwal had converted part of his house into a  “General Administration Department” for work related to CM’s office. Hence, he had fitted 2 separate meters, one for his residential area, and one for office area. Media reported bills of both these areas as one, and claimed that the bill was over Rs 1 lakh. Actually, as per data given out by AAP, the bill for the residential area averages to only around Rs 15000 per month, which is not too high considering it was summer.

EDIT: Thanks to an alert user, we have to add one more MSM lie for June 2015:

20. 20 June 2015: DNA – Govt puts Vatican’s arm Caritas Internationalis, on prior permission list

DNA on 20th June, published this news that India has put Caritas Internationalis on prior permission list. Of course, this was “source” based news. Thanks to this misinformation spread by DNA, The Government of India issued a press release on 24 June 2015 to deny such news. The release clearly said the following:

A Netherland based foreign donor agency STICHTING CORDAID has been placed under prior approval category on Aug 06, 2012.

This donor was traced when the Standard Chartered Bank seeked clearance from the Government for a remittance to Caritas Internationalis. So, contrary to what DNA reported, the Donor was under scrutiny and not the recipient i.e. Caritas Internationalis. This was also reported by Business Standard. Further, this was confirmed by Caritas themselves through a press release of their own.

January 2015: 7 Lies

February 2015: 8 Lies

March 2015: 9 Lies

April 2015: 18 Lies

May 2015: 20 Lies

co-founder, OpIndia.com

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