Top Lies spread by Indian Media in December 2015

Big Lies:

1. 9 December 2015: Zee News – Where’s the Indian Flag at Sushma Swaraj-Nawaz Sharif Meet in Islamabad

In an attempt to blindly follow and spread the propaganda being spread by controversial AAP leader Kumar 1Vishwas, Zee News carried a news item which asked why India’s flag was missing. It said that generally in such meetings when leaders of 2 countries meet formally, flags of both nations are displayed. What they did not think about was the fact that this was not a bilateral meeting between equally ranked people. Hence the flag was missing. Soon social media was abuzz with pictures of numerous foreign ministers of other countries where their respective flags were “missing”. Even Sushma Swaraj herself tweeted the same. After this, Zee News quietly changed the story completely and added this paragraph:

However, before drawing any conclusions, it may be noted that flags of two nations are displayed in the backdrop only when two leaders with same designation meet.

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2. 26 December 2015: All media based on PTI report- Air India to serve only Veg food in short duration flights, says no to Non-Veg Food

This story played out by entire media suggested that Air India was now going to serve only Vegetarian food on its short duration flights. There was a huge furore on social media on this issue. After this, the chairman of Air India clarified that as of now, in short duration flights only cold vegetarian snacks were being served. In order to improve the service they were now upgrading to hot vegetarian meals. His version checks out. This 2012 news report says Air India had scrapped hot meals in short flights citing costs. This 2013 report even speculated that these free snacks might be scrapped. In mid 2014 there was a report that Air India was considering a proposal to bring back hot meals, to ward off competition. This archived flight menu from Air India site from September 2015 also shows it served only Veg food for short flights. So now the announcement to upgrade to hot meals checks out. Air India also confirmed that there was no change in the nature of the meal as in short flights would continue to offer only Veg food and longer flights would continue to offer a choice between Veg and Non-Veg food.

3. 3 December 2015: Economic Times / Reuters – Government may intervene and influence temples to save Gold Monetization Scheme

It was reported that in order to save the Governement’s Gold monetization scheme, the plan of the Government was to first use banks to influence temples and later if that doesnt work, the Government would directly intervene. This information was of course source based. To counter this, the Government issued various clarifications clearly stating that no such plans are afoot and that the scheme was purely voluntary. The article further said that the Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai “remained unconvinced about the benefits” of the scheme. Within a week of this, it was reported that the temple had committed 40kg of Gold to this scheme. Did they change their minds within a week?

 4. 7 December 2015: Times of India – English education can’t instil patriotism: RSS

A post with the above title was published by Times of India. But the very first line in the post revealed why the headline was misleading. It said, Mohan Bhagwat had said “Education in English is insufficient to teach humanitarian and patriotic values”. The word “insufficient” was replaced by the word “can’t” thereby changing the meaning of the statement. The article had no other direct quotes of Bhagwat to back the claim it made in the headline.

4. 30 December 2015: Aaj Tak – Centre extends help to drought hit BJP states, UP’s request still pending.

In the above video one can see the Aaj Tak anchor claiming that the centre has moved to help BJP states with drought packages whereas states like UP are still waiting for their due. While both these points are true, Aaj tak has deliberately hidden one aspect, thereby making it seem that a BJP central Government has come to rescue BJP state Governments while ignoring non-BJP states. Facts unfortunately don’t bear this out. Along with Maharashtra and MP, the centre has sanctioned relief packages for states like West Bengal, Orissa, Karnataka and Manipur too. Uttar Pradesh’s applications is being processed and studied. In such a situation it is mischievous and devious on part of Aaj Tak to hide the names of other states to push through a narrative they desire.

6. 5 December 2015: Times of India – Will criminalize marital rape: Centre

As one can see in the above story, although the headline was given that the Central Government has promised to criminalize marital rape, the main story had no quotes to support this claim. In fact, if one went through the minutes of the Parliament proceedings, one would realise that the Minsiter of State for Home Affairs Mr Kiren Rijiju had nowhere stated that the Government plans to criminalize marital rape. He gave a detailed reply highlighting the complexities involved, the studies being taken and ended by saying they should wait for the Parliamentary Standing Committee Report. He further said “Once that Report comes, we will definitely come back to the House and seek the support of the hon. Member and the entire House”

7. 9 December 2015: All media via PTI/IANS – PM Modi to visit Pakistan in 2016 for SAARC summit says Sushma Swaraj

This news was beamed across all channels and media houses on the evening of 9th December 2015. There was no video evidence provided and neither could we find any. The earliest versions of this news could be found in some Pakistani media sites. One of the sites claimed that Sushma Swaraj said this while talking to senior journalist Saleh Zafir in Pakistan, but gave no exact quotes neither any video evidence. This was later relayed by news agencies like PTI and IANS to Indian media. The foreign ministry had denied this statement the very same day but it continued to be publicized.

8. 4 December 2015: Times Group/ABP News/Zee News – Nitish Kumar’s U-turn: Only `desi` liquor to be banned in Bihar from April 1

The above stories claimed that Nitish Kumar had U-Turned from his pre-poll promise and also post poll declaration that he will enforce a blanket ban on alcohol in Bihar. But all of the above were some source based stories with no backing. Just a day after all these stories Nitish Kumar personally told the press that the reports were baseless and there will indeed be a blanket ban on liquor.

9.  1 December 2015: Times of India (blog)- Statistics on National Education Policy

On 1st December, Times of India published a blog which gave some numbers about the targets achieved in the process of framing the National Education Policy. With these numbers, the author tried to prove that the process was flawed and incomplete. The key h December ere is, as the article itself says, the data used is as on 30th October 2015, a whole 2 months before the date of the article. This is even more glaring since just 2 days before this was published, HRD Minister Smriti Irani had given the data as on 26th November, on her blog dated 29 November 2015. Was this a deliberate attempt to skip the latest data?

10. 17 December 2015: Various media outlets – Bajirao Mastani banned in Pakistan.

This will remind you of the chinese whispers game you played as a child. The above link is to a Hindustan Times report which is titled as: “Pakistan says Bajirao Mastani is anti-Islam, bans it”. This story was based on a story in DNA which was titled: “Bajirao Mastani to be banned in Pakistan”. The DNA report was in turn based on a report in Pakistani media titled: “‘Bajirao’ goes under the knife in Pakistan”. See the variation in titles. From “going under the knife” it became “to be banned” and then “banned”. The truth emerges in the original Pakistani report. Pakistan has 3 regional CBFCs and Bajirao Mastani was cleared by 2 of these 3 boards. At the 3rd board, it was under review after an initial rejection. At no point was the film banned in Pakistan. This was later confirmed when a trade analyst tweeted that the film had been cleared and also by a Pakistani journalist who could book tickets for the same.

Miscellaneous Lies

1. 2 December 2015: The Hindu/IBNLive  – Old pics of floods spread as latest pics from Chennai Floods

The Hindu, which is head quartered in Chennai itself began spreading misinformation in the form of outdated pictures. It tweeted pictures of 2013, when Delhi had face flood like qsituation and tried to pass them off as pictures of #ChennaiFloods. IBN Live too tweeted similar pics. These tweets were later deleted when users pointed out the obvious. The problem with such misrepresentation is that people can be misled into believing that such a situation actually exists in their locality and this may cause panic.

2. 1 December 2015: Wired.com – Gujarat train loaded with Hindu pilgrims and activists “caught fire”

In an otherwise innocuous article about India’s energy crisis, for some reason the author decided to write about the Godhra train burning incident. And passingly, mentioned that the train “caught fire” as against “was set on fire”. This inspite of the fact that a Judicial Commission set up to enquire into the same had found that it was indeed set on fire, and courts had sentenced several people based on this. (There was another commission set up much later, which contradicted this version but courts have subsequently thrown out that report)

3. 2 December 2015: CNN – Months of heavy flooding in Chennai

Reporting on the Chennai floods, CNN intially claimed thatq “months” of heavy flooding had resulted in Chennai’s situation. Later, it was edited to say “weeks” of flooding. We of course know it was days of heavy rainfall which led to days of flooding. The report also said “at least 9 people have died”, even when Indian reports from the day earlier already reported  at least 188 people dead.

4. 8 December 2015: PTI – Poor turnout at UP rally puts off BJP leader

A PTI report claimed that seeing only a handful of people at the meeting in Tagunia village, Varun Gandhi refused to address them. This story was run by various media houses like Times of India, The New Indian Express, IndiaToday and the Business Standard, all based on this PTI report. Varun Gandhi vehemently denied this on twitter and said he had no meetings planned, and in fact had gone to attend a worker’s wedding. Oddly, this fact was even mentioned in the PTI report, yet PTI and the other media houses chose to ignore this clarification and went on to claim that there was a meeting. Later, Times of India changed the entire story and headline to “Varun Gandhi denies PTI report on UP rally” stating that Varun Gandhi shared his official tour plan with TOI to show that there was no rally scheduled

5. 20 December 2015: Multiple media houses via IANS – Man lands in ICU for ‘spoiling’ Star Wars movie

We had a detailed post on this here. Thanks to a report by the news agency IANS, multiple media houses like Business Standard, Economic Times and IndiaTiimes fell prey to this news. What they all reported as news was in fact a satirical post from an International satire website. No such event had occurred in the run up to the Star Wars movie.

7. 6 December 2015: NDTV – Used Priyanka Chopra’s photo for an article on Mary Kom

As can be seen from the pic, NDTV tweeted a story about Mary Kom using a picture of Priyanka Chopra, from the movie based on Mary Kom.

6. 7 December 2015: NDTV – Confuses actor Christian Bale with Footballer Gareth Bale

In yet another goof up, NDTV confused the actor ChristianqBale with the footballer Gareth Bale. This was noticed even by the International Sports site Bleacher Report. Later the story was update by NDTV but not before screenshots of the post went viral.

7. 20 December 2015: Various media outlets – Azharuddin married for the 3rd time. 

While Indian media was celebrating Azharuddin’s third marriage, Azhar himself took to twitter to rubbish such claims. Promptly, Indian media then carried stories saying “Azhar denies being married for 3rd time”

 

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

November 2015: 22 Lies

co-founder, OpIndia.com

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