Top Lies spread by Indian Media in October 2015

Big Lies:

 1. 28 September 2015 – Hindustan Times: Modi changes clothes four times in a day

This lie appeared in September but it came to our notice only this month. We had written a detailed post this here. In short, HT claimed that Modi had changed his clothes 4 times in a day, i.e. for four events: Tesla Motors Visit, Digital Indian Dinner, Facebook Townhall and his speech at SAP Center. Not only is the topic extremely puerile, even the facts are wrong. As is evidenced in our detailed piece, it is clear that contrary to HT’s claims, Modi was at Tesla Motors and Digital India meet on Day 1, and was at Facebook Townhall and SAP centre on Day 2. Thus the he changed his clothes twice a day and not four times as reported by HT.

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2. 8 October 2015 – Multiple media houses: Dalit family stripped by police. 

A facebook page named as “DALIT Parivar – The Rising Shudra – dedicated to Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar” posted a video claiming that a Dalit family in UP was stripped by police. This was first picked up by a site called Daily Sikh Updates, (who later deleted the story) and later by news sites like The Hindu and DNA . The video in fact was inconclusive and could not prove that the family had been forced to strip. DNA did mention this in their piece, but only as a byline. India Today however carried a story that the family had stripped on its own accord, as a sign of protest. A ground report from Caravan also supported this theory and also revealed that Sunil Gautam, a member of the family was commonly found doing such antics. Eventually SP Noida also clarified that the family was not stripped by the cops but it was done by themselves.

3. 2 October 2015- Hindustan Times/Others90-yr-old Dalit man burnt alive for trying to enter temple in UP

The story claimed that an old Dalit man was killed because he tried to enter a temple in Uttar Pradesh. Embedded image permalinkThis was subsequently picked up by various media outlets. But other media houses reported that the Dalit man was in fact killed by a drunkard. They reported that the Dalit man was going to the temple, when he was asked for money by a drunkard. When he refused, the drunkard hit him with an axe, and later burnt his body. This was also confirmed by the District Magistrate. Indian Express also confirmed the money angle and further reported that the deceased was in fact coming out of a temple and that to a temple built by members of the SC community. So the bogey raised by Hindustan Times was proved to be totally untrue.

4. 16 October 2015: Outlook and the rest of Media –  Sardar Patel statue to be made in China

In a rather sensational news break, Outlook claimed that L & T, had given the work of constructing the statue to a Chinese Foundry. This even though their own report quoted an L & T spokesperson, who outright denied the story:

The statue obviously will be built at the site itself at Sadhu Bet (near the Sardar Sarovar Dam). This is not just a statue; it is a memorial. It cannot just be shipped in from somewhere. It will be constructed at workshops which we will create. The foundry and workshops will be created close by.

To clarify the position, L & T was forced to issue another statement a few days later, which assured that the statue would be made in India:

The entire statue itself is being built in India at the site and only the bronze cladding in the form of bronze plates is being sourced from China, which constitutes a negligible amount of less than 9% of the total value of project

5. 22. 4 October 2015: India.com – AAP leader and close aide of Arvind Kejriwal behind Dadri lynching case?

Although the headline has a question mark, the headline should have never existed. The entire report trying to point to an AAP leader was based on some fabricated and photoshopped screenshots of an ABP news report, which were circulating on social media. It is highly surprising to see a site chose to believe rumours on social media and make an entire report on it.

6. 6 October 2015 – The Hindu: U-Turn: German to be taught again in Central schools

We had a separate post on this here. The Hindu claimed that now, Smriti Irani had gone back on her earlier decision earlier decision to discontinue the teaching of German in Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) and had now allowed students in KVs to opt for German as an additional foreign language, because Chancellor Merkel visited India. In effect, they claimed it was a U-Turn and this was echoed by Deputy Resident Editor at The Hindu, Suhasini Haider. Fact is that last year, German was only removed from the third language slot and transferred to foreign language slot as an additional subject and this was then reported even by The Hindu. Hence since German was never removed, question of it coming back and a “U-turn” did not arise. And as the Minister Smriti Irnai explained, the recent Joint Declaration of Intent signed with Germany, allowed Indian languages to be taught in Germany and formalised the already existing framework to teach German in KVs as an additional foreign subject.

7.  15 October 2015 – Multiple media houses:  Modi cancels three rallies in Bihar scheduled for October 16

BJP denied these reports that Modi’s rallies for October 16 were cancelled. October 16 was also the day for 2nd phase of polling in Bihar. The rationale give was that the third phase of polling is on October 28 and addressing rallies early made no sense. There is no media report from before this news which says rallies were scheduled for October 16. And whichever articles had a broad schedule of Modi’s rallies made no mention of a rally on 16th. This article for egs claimed Modi is expected to campaign in Sasaram and Jehanabad before October 16, not “On”.

8. 12. 9 October 2015 – The Week, India.com – Modi government to de-recognise orphanages run by Mother Teresa’s missionaries

We had written a separate post on this. Some sections of the media claimed that the Government was derecognizing orphanages run by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity (MoC). But fact is, MoC clarified by its own statement saying that more than 2 months back, they had voluntarily closed down adoption work in India and have given up our recognized status to run adoption centers. The official statement did not give any specific reasons but Sister Amala from a New Delhi orphanage run by the Missionaries of Charity stated that they had a problem with the new guidenlines which would allow single parents to adopt children. The problem arose because they feared homosexual couples may adopt children and this was not permitted by their religion. Which is why, Sister Amala said:

“The new guidelines hurt our conscience. They are certainly not for religious people like us, may be they are for secular people as the minister says. But we are concerned about children and their future. What if the single parent who we give our baby turns out to be gay or lesbian. What security or moral upbringing will these children get? Our rules allow only married couples to adopt,”

9.2 October 2015: Times Now – PM Modi promises free electricity to the poor. 

While live tweeting one of Modi’s speeches in Bihar, Times Now claimed  that he had promised free electricity to the poor. Actually he had only referred to electricity and housing. When it was pointed out to them, Times Now accepted the mistake and deleted the tweet. But by then the screenshot was being circulated as gospel truth.

10. 7 October 2015: IndiaToday – Sadhvi Prachi is a BJP MP

This lie has been repeated so often that now it has become subject to Goebbels law. This was first propounded by PTI in March 2015 and by other media houses in May 2015. On both occasions we had pointed this out, but MSM continued with this lie even in October 2015. This time it was the turn of India Today. They had a news story plus a tweet which claimed Sadhvi Prachi is a BJP MP. Fact is she has never been elected from any post on a BJP ticket. At best she could have been a BJP MLA candidate from UP, provided she is the same person who is mentioned here. Eventually India Today deleted the tweet and story and apologised for their mistake.

12. 9 October 2015: Hindustan Times – BJP MLA Sangeet Som is a director in a meat processing unit. 

We had a separate post on this issue. What HT did was, they claimed that Sangeet Som is a director in a company called Al-Dua Food Provessing Pvt Ltd and that this company was into meat-processing. Facts are that firstly, Sangeet Som resigned from the company way back in 2008. So HT was wrong in saying he “is” a director in the company. Secondly, the company began the business of meat processing only in 2012. So it is completely wrong on HT’s part to claim he had a connection with Al-Dua the meat processing company. And in another major obfuscation facts, HT did not mention that Sangeet Som, in 2008, was affiliated with BSP and not with BJP. This, even though HT’s own report from 2008, written by the same journalist who filed the latest report, clearly identified Som as a “BSP leader”

11. 18 October 2015: Newslaundry.com  – Sadhvi Prachi in list of BJP MPs and MLAs

This lie has been repeated so often its not even funny anymore. Although Newslaundrylii is not “Mainstream Media” by any stretch of imagination, since we are on the topic of media and lies, we have included this instance here. The article was titled: “BJP’s fringe elements”. The bye-line spoke about “BJPs MPs and MLAs”. The Intro of the article also mentioned BJP MPs and MLAs. But for some reason we found a Sadhvi Prachi in the list. In the pic used for Sadhvi Prachi, Newslaundry themselves mentioned she was a VHP leader. Then why was she in the list? Surely not an error then? Once this was pointed out, Newslaundry surreptitiously made some changes. The title and byline were changed as per the picture attached. And further in the piece, these lines were inserted:

Now, I know she’s not a member of the BJP. But since I am on the subject of beef and dying, I couldn’t resist adding her comment

Thats a pretty candid admission that Newslaundry very well knew that Sadhvi was not a “member of BJP” yet wanted to include her in their BJP MPs and MLAs list.

12. 13 October 2015: The Hindu – First time since partition, rumours of killing a cow have led to a man’s murder

In its editorial, The Hindu casually used this line, without offering any data to back this claim:

“After all, since Partition this is probably the first time that rumours of a man killing a cow have cost him his life, in his own neighbourhood”

This was in reference to the Dadri incident. Fact is, such unfortunate incidents have happened time and again in India. In 2012, Cow slaughter report led to violence in Punjab. In 2010, violence broke out in Shimla when news of alleged cow slaughter broke out. In 2006, Mangalore saw riots based solely on rumours that a trader was carrying cows for slaughter. 2 people were killed in the aftermath. In 2002, The Hindu itself ran a story about the killing of 5 dalits in Haryana, for skinning of a cow. Yet in 2015 The Hindu claimed that this was the first incident of its kind. (This is not to justify any murder, but only to dispel the lie in The Hindu that murder over cow slaughter has happened for the first time in India)

Miscellaneous Lies

1. 16 October 2015: The Hindu – Modi set to travel 60,000 km in 30 days

First of all, the report was based on a “if”: “If all the visits being discussed fructify”, Modi could clock 60000 km. But the headline had no such mention. Secondly, the 60000 km figure was shown to be off the mark. When users questioned the figure, for example when they claimed that the flight distance for New Delhi to London is around 6800km, Suhasini Haider the author of the piece, chose to show some site which calculated the distance as 8260km. What she did not count for was that the link she gave probably showed the road distance, and the same site had a separate “flight distance” calculator, which showed that flight distance was just 6716 km. Based on this very site’s data, it emerges that even “if” all the trips being discussed do materialise, the flight distance in total would be just around 45000 km, i.e. almost 25% lower than what the report claimed:

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1st Image shows screenshot shared by Suhasini Haider which actually refers to road distance. 2nd screenshot shows flight distance as shown by same site. 3rd shows total flight distance

2. 13 October 2015: PTI – Ajay Devgn arrives late at a Bihar poll rally

Based on PTI reports, Indian Express carried a story titled “Violence at BJP rally in Bihar as Ajay Devgn arrives late”. It further said Devgn “came around 1 PM instead of the scheduled 10:30 AM”.  Times of India too had a similar report. There was indeed some violence at the rally, but the argument that it was because Devgn came late seems to be unfounded because Devgn wasn’t really that late. As per BJP’s ads in local newspapers on the day of the rally, Ajay Devgn was scheduled to come at the rally at 12.00 pm and not at 10.30 am as reported by PTI. This is corroborated by a pic tweeted by an Ajay Devgn fan much before the rally. This pic is of what seems to be an internal note/circular of BJP which says Ajay Devgn’s scheduled arrival time at the rally venue is 12.30 pm. This would seem to suggest that the 12.00 pm time was declared for public so that they arrive by the time Ajay Devgn actually comes at 12.30 pm. Nowhere does this corroborate with PTI’s claim that the scheduled time is 10.30 am.

3. 14 October 2015: Hindustan Times – Prasoon Joshi says Sahitya Akademi winners must be in great pain

HT this time claimed that Prasoon Joshi, who worked on Modi’s campaign in 2014, had said that Sahitya Akademi winners must have been in great pain. This was in reference to the “Award wapsi” campaign and this news was important because it showed a former associate of Modi, now speaking against him. Of course, the truth is Joshi never made such a statement. By its own admission later, HT said that these views were actually of Shantanu Moitra and not of Joshi. By then many other media houses had already picked up the original story.

4. 15 October 2015 – Economic Times – Two Jan Sangh-educationists Ashutosh Mukherjee, KM Munshi to figure with 8 others in UGC anthology

As is clear from the headline of this article, Economic Times claimed that Ashutosh Mukherjee was a Jan-Sangh educationalist who would be featured in the UGC anthology. Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee was a prolific Bengali educator. He had been the VC of University of Calcutta for 5 terms, was honored by the British Crown with the title of ‘Sir’ and he was a member of the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal, a fellow of the Edinburgh Royal Society, and that of Royal Astronomical Society, Member of the Royal Irish Academy, Member of the Mathematical Societies of London, Edinburgh, Paris, Palermo and New York. By all accounts a stellar educationalist. He died in 1924. The year is important because, as per Economic Times, he was also affiliated with the Jan Sangh, which was formed 27 years after his death in 1951! From this it is clear that the Economic Times wrongly added a Jan Sangh affiliation to him. It was Mukherjee’s son Syama Prasad Mookerjee, who had in fact founded Jan Sangh. And curiously, Economic Times itself, says this in the body of the article. They why was the headline misleading? Was it because they were desperate to link another person to Jan Sangh so as to show a “saffronization” of UGC Anthology? Because without falsely claiming Sir Ashutosh was associated with Jan Sangh, the headline would fall flat since only 1 out of the 8 people would have links to Jan Sangh?

5. 26 October 2015: Multiple Media houses – National Security not Higher Than Secrecy of Sources: Jaitley

This headline implied that Jaitley said that secrecy of sources IMG_20151026_214506was more important than national security. But, in case of the article in The New Indian Express, the first line itself contradicted the headline:

Journalists have the right to conceal and protect their sources in public interest but when it comes to national security, secrecy of sources cannot be of higher importance, Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley today said

Similar stories with same headline and same contradictory paragraphs also appeared in Zee News  and Business Standard and Hindustan Times. The common link was all these stories were based on a PTI report.The correct version of course is the body and not the headline. Jaitley clearly said “national security will be considered much higher than the secrecy of sources itself”, but for some reason PTI and PTI based reports could not comprehend the same. To be fair, a Times of India report, although based on PTI, had the correct headline.

6. 26 October 2015: The Hindu and Times Now – Picture from a 2014 Earthquake at Ahmedabad used as a picture of 2015 Earthquake in North India

On 26 October, parts of North India felt tremors from an Earthquake. Times Now and The Hindu chose to use a picture from 2014, which showed the damage caused by an earthquake at Ahmedabad, and projected it as if the image is of the latest earthquake

1

Both media houses were forced to rectify this once they were called out on twitter.

7. 29 October 2015 – India Today: Men can eat their wife if severely hungry, says top Saudi Sheikh’s fatwa

In the theatre of the absurd Media world, anything can happen. India Today reported this news itdy in all seriousness, based on a report in the international “Mirror”. The report in Mirror was from April 2015, but for some reason India Today felt it should pick it up now. While India Today, did mention at the bottom that this “Fatwa” was in fact froma  sarcastic column written by a satirist, Mirror made no such claim. However, India Today ran this story and tweets as if the news is a true event. After it was discovered on social media that the “Fatwa” was in fact a piece of satire, India Today deleted the tweet. But the story still existed as at the time of writing this.

8. 19 October 2015: Indiatimes.com – Australian Couple Harrassed By BJP MLA

It is true that an Australian couple was harassed in Bengaluru. One of them sported a tattoo of a Hindu Goddess on his shin, hence the flare up. But the person who harassed him was not a BJP “MLA”. He was surely associated with BJP for a long time but had never been an MLA.

9. 8 October 2015: Moneycontrol.com – Tesla plans to build assembly unit in India for its Model III

In what was a story supposed to be a follow-up on Modi visiting Tesla Motors in US, Moneycontrol claimed that “Tesla is exploring building assembly unit in India for its Tesla Model 3. This model is currently assembled in Netherlands and sold in the Europe market”. Fact is just a month back, Elon Musk, Tesla chief had announced on twitter that Tesla III would only be unveiled in March 2016. He further said that production would begin in “about 2 years” i.e. 2017, while Moneycontrol claimed that this model was already being assembled and sold!

10. 8 October 2015: NDTV – Lata Mangeshkar’s younger brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar is dead.

In a news item mentioning that A R Rahman was to receive the Hridaynath Mangeshkar Award, NDTV said that he would receive the same on the “Birth anniversary of Pandit Hridaynath Mangeshkar, the late younger brother of…“. Of course Hridaynath Mangeshkar is very much alive and NDTV later corrected the story.

11. 31 October 2015: CNN-IBN: – RSS expels partymen who attacked RTI activist 

In a tweet, CNN IBN claimed that “RSS expels partymen who were involved in the attack on RTI activist in Latur”. This tweet had multiple fallacies. First of all RSS is not a “party” hence it does not have “partymen”. Secondly, the people who attacked the RTI activist were not RSS men but those of Shiv Sena, and Shiv Sena eventually did expel them. Its odd why RSS appeared in this tweet in the first place. Later the tweet was deleted.

January 2015: 7 Lies

February 2015: 8 Lies

March 2015: 9 Lies

April 2015: 18 Lies

May 2015: 20 Lies

June 2015: 20 Lies

July 2015: 27 Lies

August 2015: 25 Lies

September 2015: 24 Lies

co-founder, OpIndia.com

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