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Top Lies spread by Indian Media in November 2015

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co-founder, OpIndia.com

Big Lies

1. 27 November 2015: IndiaTimes – Prime Minister Narendra Modi Caught Sleeping During Parliament Session

We had written on this in more detail here. Indiatimes declared that PM Modi was sleeping in the parliament during session, based on some pictures floating on social media. While they chose to believe this information from social media, they turned a blind eye to the other information from social media it self which released the full video of the time when Modi was “sleeping”. From the video it was clear that Modi had only looked down for a few seconds and was far from sleeping. Later Indiatimes themselves published another post saying Modi was not sleeping.

2. 12 November 2015: Economic Times/Hindustan Times: HRD Ministry….plans to check influence of (IIT) coaching centres and regulate fees

We had written a separate article on this which exposed this lie in detail, as there are multiple layer to it. Firstly no such decision was taken by the HRD Ministry. Even media reported that it was merely a “recommendation” of an expert panel. Secondly, it actually wasnt even a “recommendation” since this part was specifically omitted by the panel from the section titled “recommendations”. Thirdly, the Government did not even ask the panel for its views on this aspect. From all these facts, terming it as a “plan” of the HRD ministry was of now, was extremely far fetched.

3. 27 November 2015: Times Now / India Today – Maharashtra to ban liquor 

These two tweets from “responsible” media houses, with no source, ano quote went viral on social media and created much furore. They claimed that now Maharashtra was planning a liquor ban. This news, was spread even though just a week before it, media reported that Maharashtra CM Fadnavis had given the nod to reduce drinking age in Mumbai. The truth? No such ban on the cards. In fact, a statement from the Government clearly said that there was no proposal before the Government which considered doing the same. Eventually Revenue minister Khadse also stated that from pure financial sense, this move would be disastrous and hence was not being considered. Then what was the source of the earlier news? No one shall know

4. 26 November 2015: All media – Government clears Indo-Pak series on 26/11

Indian media must be given credit for one thing, their sense of timing. 1Right on 26/11, the anniversary of the Mumbai Terror attacks, Indian media leaked a source based news that Indian Government had given the go ahead for an Indo-Pak series. This news was met with widespread anger, especially since it had come on the Terror attacks anniversary. So did the Government actually do this? We go back to 24th November when one of the first versions of this news came up. It was reported that the Pakistani Government had given the green signal for such a series. 2 days, exactly on 26/11, later Indian media breaks this news that even the Indian Government has given the go ahead. The whole day this issue is debated and right at the end of the day, Official Spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs tweets that no decision has been taken on the cricket series. Till today i.e. the 2nd of December there has been no movement on this aspect. In fact on 28th November itself, news came that Government was unlikely to give the nod. On 3th November MoS Home Ministry Kiren Rijiju says no such discussing has taken place. So how did this happen? Is it a coincidence that Pakistan Government gives green signal 2 days before 26/11 and Indian media cooks up a story of Indian approval exactly on 26/11?

5. 6 November 2015: All Media – UK to raise Moody’s report while Modi’s UK visit

Multiple sections of the media sensationally reported that UK foreign secretary Philip Hammond had said that they will ask Modi questions about Moody’s uncharitable report. This was showed as a potential embarassment to Modi. Of course, now that Modi’s visit has ended, we have not seen a single news report which says such a thing actually happened. Instead we have seen David Cameron sing paeans to Modi and his Acche Din. Then why did the foreign secretary say such a thing? Apparently, Hammond’s statement was in response to a question raised by a journalist as to whether the issue will be raised. According a source close to BJD MP Baijayant Panda, “the answer was standard bland diplomatese, but they (Indian media) needed a story”. This is also supported by the fact that Hammond’s response was very general in nature:

“Yes, I am sure in all our meetings, with everybody we come in contact with, we always talk about issues of mutual concern. I am sure Prime Minister Modi will have issues he wants to raise around the Indian diaspora in the UK, and I am sure Prime Minister Cameron would want to ask about some of the issues…just mentioned, because they are clearly relevant to Prime Minister Modi’s plans for the development of the Indian economy and the opening of India to the outside world, and securing India’s sustainable development”.

Yet media chose to spin it as a specific statement related to Moody’s. And as it turns out, what the media said would happen, never happened and quite the opposite happened, where Cameron hailed “chaiwala” Modi.

6. 10 November 2015 – The Hindu: ‘BJP, RSS to celebrate Godse death anniversary’

That was and continues to be the headline which The Hindu chose to use for a report. So did BJP and RSS have any plans to celebrate Godse’s death anniversary? No, because the anniversary was on 15th November, it was observed by the Hindu Mahasabha and the BJP and RSS in fact slammed the Hindu Mahasabha for this act, at the same time clarifying they had nothing to do with this outfit. The Mahasbha on its part slammed the RSS, BJP and Modi. So from where did this report originate in The Hindu? From the fertile imagination of CPI leader and daughter of CPI leader Govind Pansare. The Hindu cleverly used her statement in the headline, but did not mention that this again was not a fact, but merely a statement by Pansare. The only hint they gave of the same was the use of the quotes. Eventually The Hindu realised the error of their ways and apologised, but the news piece continues with the same headline.

7. 28 November 2015: Times of India – Kiren Rijiju says “South Indian Muslims more attracted to ISIS

Times of India published a story with a sensational headline saying “South Indian Muslims Untitled more attracted to ISIS: Kiren Rijiju”. This obviously led to much controversy online. Times of India claimed that he had said this in a n interview to India Today. But the same article, in its body said that in fact Rijiju had said that this should not be seen from a regional angle. Eventually, Times of India changed the headline itself. So what did Rijiju actually say? If one sees the interview, this is what Untitledactually happened. Karan Thapar asked him a pointed question as to why more South Indians are attracted to ISIS and he made a statement that although there are such reports, one cannot attribute any reasons and other regions must also not be ignored. Rijiju never himself says that South Indians are more attracted, as Times of India quoted him in its headline. Further, in the next question, Thapar probes him about whether Howrah is also an area of concern. Here also Rijiju clearly says “we would not like to identify particular region with this because it generates unnecessary controversies“. It seems Rijiju was aware of the possible ramifications of his statement, and eventually what he had avoided, happened.

8. 30 November 2015: All media – Manohar Parrikar hints at retirement

According to national media, Manohar Parrikar, while at a function in Goa, made a remark indicating that he might retire soon. He is quoted by media as saying:

“After 60 (years), one has to think about retirement. I turn 60 on December 13, therefore, I had started thinking about retirement two-three years back. I have to intensify that, therefore, I don’t feel inclined to take up big responsibilities,”

Later Parrikar clarified to media that he was speaking in general , his remarks had nothing to do with his retirement, and he also claimed that the reporter who reported this was not even present at the event. He further tweeted his correct statement:

parrikar retirement

Parrikar’s version seems to be correct since he tweeted the above at around 12pm on 30th November and on the morning of 30th November, a local media report reported the correct statement:

Once you are 60 years old, you need to start thinking about retirement. 2-3 years ago I thought about retiring after my 60th Birthday. And because of this, I thought I wont get any big responsibility. But a big responsibility in the form of defence ministry came to me. And now that I have got this responsiblity, I will work hard to fulfill it.

9. 23 November 2015: Multiple media houses: APJ Abdul Kalam’s grand nephew Sheikh Saleem quits BJP  The overall reporting on this issue was abysmal to say the least. News portals like Rediff.com, India.com and Times of India all reported that Kalam’s grand nephew Sheikh Saleem had quit BJP. At the same time, Sheikh Saleem, came out with a press release where he denied the news. So the truth? Well Kalam has 2 grand nephews and both were in BJP. Sheikh Saleem is the grand nephew who had joined BJP recently and continues to be in BJP, whereas Syed Ibrahim is the other hrand nephew who had joined way back in 2012 and has now quit. But As shown above, media confused the two. The most confused was in fact CNN-IBN, who kept mixing the 2 in one single story.

10. 15 November 2015: Multiple media houses – Amit Shah says politicians should retire at 60 Media reported that Amit Shah had said politicians should retire at the age of 60 years. This obviously set off a flurry of comments especially since Modi himself is above 60 years. Finally Amit Shah clarified that he had never said so, and the video which was also released showed that he was merely referring to the example shown by an RSS leader Nanaji Deshmukh and it was in no way a his thought.

11. 16 November 2015: Outlook – Rajnath Singh said “Modi is first Hindu ruler after 800 years “ This is an example of how unchecked media lies lead to great distortion. Outlook in its article, made a passing comment that Rajnath Singh had made the above remark. This was from an article dated November 16 2015. A good two weeks later this comes into focus as CPM leader Mohd Salim used this alleged quote of Rajnath Singh to stir up the Intolerance debate and cause a huge furore. He placed reliance on and even quoted the above mentioned Outlook piece. Rajnath Singh denied it and rightly so, because he had never made such a statement. It was in fact said by VHP leader Ashok Singhal almost a year back. This was widely reported at that time yet Outlook chose to lie on this issue.


Miscellaneous Lies

1. 30 November 2015: Times of India – Sudheendra Kulkarni is a BJP Member While reporting a statement made by Kulkarni, Times of India claimed that he was a BJP member. Kulkarni later tweeted that this was false and he had left the BJP

2. 30 November 2015: Times of India – Singer Abhijeet writes an open letter to Aamir Khan calling him hypocrite In its print edition and as well as online, Times of India claimed that Embedded image permalink Singer Abhijeet, known for his outspoken nature had written a terse open letter to Aaamir Khan. They even quoted a part of the letter which said Aamir was a hypocrite. But fact is Abhijeet had only shared the letter which was written by Shefali Vaidya. Later in its online version Times of India accepted the mistake.

3. 13 November 2015: Zee News – Fake NASA Diwali picture This hoax pic has been debunked many times on social media but come Diwali, this finds a place in some media outlet. This year it was brought into circulation when Virender Sehwag tweeted it. Zee News soon posted a story titled “See pic: Stunning image of nighttime Diwali lights in India” based on this tweet. Only at the bottom did they mention that the picture had nothing to do with NASA or Diwali. If they did know this, then putting a false. click-baity headline is wrong.

4. 3 November 2015: Economic Times – Wrong Irfan Habib  Historian Irfan Habib was in the news last month for his absurd equivalence of RSS to ISIS. And the problem was there were 2 Irfan Habibs! There is a Syed Irfan Habib on twitter, who also happens to be a historian, and trolls, who have no idea that there are 2 Habibs, often target S Irfan Habib. Owing to this, S Irfan Habib has even put up a “pinned tweet” clarifying he has nothing to do with the Award Wapsi Irfan Habib.

The picture on the right is a cutting from the Economic Times and the tweet on the left is of S Irfan Habib explaining that he is not the Award Wapsi Irfan Habib

Inspite of this, Economic Times, in what is an example of very lazy journalism, printed the photo of S Irfan Habib in a story about the Award Wapsi Irfan Habib. Even after being told that this is wrong, ET did not change the story

5. 2 November 2015: Aaj Tak – Sanathan Sanstha not involved in murder of Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi  In a case of lazy journalism, Aaj Tak put out a tweet titled “Breaking News” and declared that UntitledSanathan Sanstha was not involved in murder of Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi. But surpisingly, this tweet was soon deleted. Why? This “news” wasn’t actually a statement of fact. This was a statement made by the Sanatan Sanstha. The correct method of reporting this would have been clearly stating that these are the words of Sanathn Sanstha and not a fact. Aaj Tak then re-tweeted the same news with the correct wordings, giving the correct perspective on this news.

6. 2 November 2015: DNA – BJP suffers setback in KDMC Polls.

The Kalyan Dombivli Civi Polls in Maharashtra threw up the following results: Shiv Sena got 52 out of the 122 seats, while BJP won 42 seats. The rest were shared among Congress, NCP and MNS. Since barely on numerical count, BJP won less seats than Shiv Sena, DNA decided to label it a “setback” to BJP:

The BJP, which was in alliance with Sena in the last KDMC elections, has suffered a setback and has won only 42 seats

But the fact is, BJP had won only 9 seats in the last KDMC elections, that too after alliance with Shiv Sena. This time, it contested on its own and managed to more than quadruple its tally. Yet DNA thought it was a “setback”.

7. 14 November 2015: Navbharat Times – BCCI denies inviting Pakistan for playing cricket. q In a tweet which was soon deleted, Navbharat Times claimed thatBCCI had denied inviting Pakistan for playing cricket. But within a few hours BCCI member Anurag Thakur gave a statement that they had indeed offered Pakistan the chance to play cricket in India.

8. 26 November 2015: DNA – Liquor ban in Mizoram A very small mistake, in a part of its article, DNA mentioned that Mizoram too had a liquor ban going on. The ban had actually been repealed in 2014. DNA immediately rectified the error.

9. 23 November 2015: Multiple media houses – Pilot Sunita Vijayan dead

Media reported that a woman pilot named Sunita Vijayan was one of  the pilots who died when a helicopter carrying them crashed. And they published this photo with the name “Sunita Vijayan”. Unfortunately this was another example of poor journalism where Indian media just picked up the first photo they came across tagged with the name Sunita Vijayan. The photo was of another Sunita who was in fact a resident of Dubai. This Sunita took to facebook to clarify that she was very much alive after Indian media splashed her face all over India and because of which she was inundated with calls from her friends and family.

10. 2 November 2015: Livemint – Startup “Twigly” gets $ 200 mn from angel investors The usually solid Livemint made a goof up, when their report in its headline, said “Twigly” had raised $ 200 mn. This although the body of the article claimed only $ 200000. The correct figure was of course only $ 200000

11. 16 November 2015: The Hindu – Baijayant Jay Panda says the Rajya Sabha is “unelected”.

A small mistake perhaps but now Mr Panda is facing a privilege motion for speaking on this issue. The Hindu article said that Mr Panda referred to the Rajya Sabha as “unelected” when he was speaking of reforms for the Rajya Sabha. Mr Panda confirmed on twitter that he had been misquoted on this and he had never called the Rajya Sabha “unelected”.


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

October 2015: 23 Lies

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