Aamir Khan has been working hard towards solving the drought issue in Maharashtra. His Paani Foundation has collaborated with the Maharashtra Government to ease an enduring water crisis in the state. He has inspired many from the film world like Nana Patekar and Akshay Kumar to join him in lending a hand. Recently he even launched a Water Cup in Maharashtra, to promote water conservation.
A few days back, a news story broke out that Aamir Khan had now gone one step further and had adopted a 2 drought-hit villages in Maharashtra. A search shows that this story was first tweeted by the Pro-AAP news blog Janta Ka Reporter:
The tweet was sent on 18th April at 8.38 pm and the story was also published on the same day. Today, Janta ka Reporter even went on to claim credit for breaking this news story:
This story was then picked up by almost every media outlet. The story was widely shared, and it seemed some people, were interested in settling political scores by raising the anti-national issue etc, rather than appreciating the move.
Now it turns out this entire story by Janta ka Reporter was fabricated. This has emerged after the tweets of a journalist who claims to have spoken to the actor’s agency:
So where did a small outfit like Janta Ka Reporter, which usually only curates posts, which has very little geographical reach, get their exclusive, first-hand, breaking information? Did they actually manage to have a reporter on the ground at the place where Aamir Khan had “announced” his action? If one reads the story broken by Janta ka Reporter, it appears their only source was a tweet. Yes, a solitary tweet is quoted by Janta Ka Reporter in its story:
Shahryar is a journalist with a site covering Bollywood news. He later wrote a piece on his site, titled “How ‘Anti-National’ Aamir Khan shames ultra-nationalists”.
But even before Shahryar, there is another mention of this “adoption” that never happened. A Twitter account by the name Aakib Sayyad, who claims to be staying in Mumbai (as per his bio) tweeted out on 17th April itself that Aamir had adopted “2 villages” (see update below) of Tal and Koregaon:
Amazingly, the tweets of both Shahryar the journalist and Sayyad use the exact same photo of the function where Aamir allegedly announced this. The exact same photo from the same angle of the exact same moment. And the journalist tweeted the image almost 24 hours after Sayyad tweeted the picture. So it is highly possible that Shahryar was not even present at the venue and basically believed this story from a tweet he saw, that of Sayyad.
But what could be the source of Sayyad you may ask? He tweeted out the entire “breaking news”, and the last tweet in the series probably reveals his very credible source:
So it appears that a random person got a message on WhatsApp, which he tweeted out, which was picked by some random journalist, which was blindly trusted by a media portal like Janta ka Reporter, which was further picked by almost every National media house, and possibly even some International media houses! One Whatsapp message, and a breaking news story!
And now as the chickens have come to roost, the journalist Shahryrar has tweeted a clarification:
What does this show? Indian media reporting standards are at rock-bottom. A WhatsApp message can become a national news without as much as a simple clarification from the person about whom the news is. Media houses in their race and hunger to feed breaking news, especially politically loaded news, have forgotten to do the basics right: Confirm a damned news story!
As a reader points out, the first tweet on this issue, that by Sayyad says “two villages of Tal. Koregaon”. This is to be read as 2 villages from the Taluka Koregaon, and not as MSM reported saying 2 villages named Tal and Koregaon!