Top Lies spread by Indian Media in May 2016

Big Lies:

1. NDTV: Chanting OM on Yoga Day is mandatory

We had a separate report on this. Even after the ministry had clarified in multiple ways and had shown proof that chanting of Om or Vedic hymns was not mandatory, NDTV continued to carry the opposite news, that Om was indeed mandatory, on their TV shows.

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2. NDTV: Online trolling against women will be considered as violence – Maneka Gandhi. 

We had a separate story on this. NDTV’s report initially claimed that Maneka Gandhi had said the above. But the video of the interview proved that she had said no such thing. In fact she never even used the word trolling. Once they were questioned, NDTV changed the headlines repeatedly in order to salvage something out of the controversy, but could never prove that Gandhi had said the above.

3. Multiple media houses: Railways charging/levy Rs 4 crore bill on Latur for providing water via Jaldoot

We had a separate story on this. Based on a PTI story, media houses like NDTV and Economic Times had reported the above in their headline. But the body of the story had the complete truth. Central Railway’s General Manager had clarified that the amount was not being charged to Latur and the bill was sent on their request:

“We have sent the bill to the Latur district collector as per the administration’s request, It is up to the district administration whether to pay us or seek waiver of the amount, through proper channels. We sent the water transport bill as per their request.”

The Ministry of Railways too tweeted the above and clarified that the amount was not being charged but the bill was sent purely on the request of Latur authorities.

4. Business Standard – ‘Can’t get rid of public sector, nor should you’: PM Modi

In a very cunning and shrewd move, Business standard used the above headline, by dropping just one word of what Modi said, so that the meaning changes entirely. Seeing the body of the above article itself it is clear that Modi said the following:

“In any developing country in the world, both the public and private sector have a very important role to play. You can’t suddenly get rid of the public sector, nor should you,”

But Business Standard dropped the word “suddenly” from Modi’s sentence and made it the headline, giving the impression that Modi was not at all in favour of getting rid of public sector companies, when he was actually pressing for a gradual transformation

5. CNN News 18: Rishi Kapoor hits out at V K Singh

In the bizarre world of Indian media, the tweet-storm in which Rishi Kapoor hit out at the naming of buildings and structures after the Gandhi family, was reported as if Kapoor had attacked General V K Singh.

6. All media: IRCTC website hacked, user data stolen

Multiple media houses reported this story on 5th May claiming that IRCTC’s site was hacked and personal data of around 1 crore users was feared to be robbed. IRCTC though clarified on the same day with a detailed press release explaining how they had checked their systems and found no evidence of any hacking whatsoever. Further, the Ministry from its Twitter handle explained that such news was common for the past 2-3 years and was most probably based on some people selling 1 crore email ids and phone numbers, claiming that they have obtained the same from IRCTC.

7. All India Radio News: Government favours reservations for SC/ST/OBC in Private Sector

In the above tweet which was later deleted, AIR news claimed that the Government had favoured reservations in Private Sector. The truth however was that the Government had only favoured reservation in promotion for Government employees, provided the right “atmosphere” was created. This also was in response to the demand for reservation in promotion raised by Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge during a debate on demands of grants for the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

8. Multiple media houses: Udta Punjab banned by Censor Board

In the last week of May, this news was spread by many media portals that the CBFC i.e. the Censor Board had put a complete blanket ban on the movie Udta Punjab. The facts were tweeted by co-producer Anurag Kashyap much after the controversy erupted, where he clarified that there was no ban, and it was only being referred to the Revising committee, following due processes.

9. Aaj Tak: Showing videos of 2013 to prove rise of Cow protection groups in Punjab, in the recent past

In the above report, Aaj Tak claimed that in the recent past, many cases of vandalism in the name of cow protection were noticed in Punjab. To prove this Aaj Tak showed many videos of such cases. But as was found out later, at least 2 of such videos were in fact of 2013 and could in no way be presented as “recent past”.

 

Miscellaneous Lies:

1. ET Now: Jaitley: Do not have a problem with 18% tax cap for GST

In a case of selective reporting, ET Now cut elements from Jaitley’s speech and claimed he said the above. At the same time, other media houses like Bloomberg had reported the correct news:

The real story

2. IndiaSamwad: I am a very proud Hindu, why should I work with Khans now – Kangana Ranaut

In this poorly spun headline, IndiaSamwad picked up 2 different answers by Kangana Ranaut and put them together to get a sensational headline. On the issue of her now being a big star, she said:

“Now I get a lot of offers to work with the Khans. I’m my own hero on the sets, why should I work with other heroes? The Khans did not want to work with me when I started, why should I work with them now?”

And later, to a question on witchcraft and her religious practices, she said:

“I am a very proud Hindu. The foundation of my personality is laid on the teachings of Swami Vivekananda or Sanatan Dharm or the Gita. And if my religious practices or anybody’s religious practices are given any kind of sadistic name, it instills fear about other person’s religious practices,”

There is absolutely no connection between the “I am a proud Hindu” part and the “I wont work with Khans” part, but IndiaSamwad chose to twist the interview.

3. Times of India: Use of picture of fire-crackers in place of bombs

"Bombs"
“Bombs”

Although CID bomb disposal squad was brought into action to diffuse these bombs, Times of India played down this incident by using an innocuous picture of fire-cracker “bombs”. Were they trying to suggest that in the midst of elections, in West Bengal which has been in the news far too often for crude bombs, 3 people died while making fire-crackers? The Times of India report also failed to mention the fact that Bomb Disposal squad was used, hence further confusing the reader.

4. Scroll.in and some other sites: UAE wants to build a ‘rainmaking mountain’

Based on syndicated reports some media houses reported that UAE is about to build a rainmaking man-made mountain. The fact is however that no UAE official or agency has confirmed the existence of any concrete plan to geo-engineer a mountain. The closest thing to this news is the fact that National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the US agency is doing preliminary research on the feasibility of the idea and is downplaying the idea of actually building a mountain, noting it is too early to speculate on any concrete outcomes for such a geo-engineering project.

5. ANI News: LOP raised the issue of absence of Law Minister Sadananda Gowda in LS

Initially ANI News had tweeted the above that the Leader of the Opposition had raised the issue of absence of the Law Minister. Later ANI seems to have deleted the tweet but the Minister was well aware of the situation and countered ANI:

6. The Economic Times: Buddha In A Traffic Jam was screened on a Giant screen in Jadavpur University

In the above story reporting about the violent behaviour of Leftists students at the University, Economic Times claimed that “Finally, the film was screened using a giant screen inside the university premises”. The film was indeed screened but not at the auditorium. Instead a make-shift screen was erected using bed-sheets. It was certainly not a “Giant screen” and neither did Economic Times explain the nature of this “screen”

7. Indian Express: Target to raise India’s defence exports to $ 2 million: Manohar Parrikar

The Indian Express got the above headline wrong when they claimed the Defence Minister had set the target at only $2 Million. As the body of their own report, and other media reports confirmed, the target was in fact $2 Billion and not $2 Million.

8. Multiple media houses: Air ambulance crashes at Najafgarh

Media houses like Firstpost, NDTV and India Today reported initially that the air ambulance had crashed in Najafgarh. The fact however was it was an emergency crash-landing done by the pilot and a major disaster was averted, as both the engines of the aircraft failed.

9. Aaj Tak – We run Bajrang Dal for the safety of the nation – BJP spokesperson Vindo Bansal

Although the above was said by Vinod Bansal, he is not a part of BJP but instead is a VHP leader. Still, Aaj Tak reported him as a BJP leader and later deleted the tweets once the error was pointed out.

10. News X: Ram Madhav says that Abhishek Manu Singhvi was a liar 

In their above story, News X claimed that Ram Madhav had called Singhvi a liar, but if one sees the video it is clear that Madhav had called Singhvi a lawyer, and not liar. This was even tweeted by Madhav, but News X did not correct their story.

11. The Hindu: Narendra Modi wishes Maryam Sharif speedy recovery 

Modi had actually wished Nawaz Sharif, who was undergoing a heart surgery. Although The Hindu got this right in the main story, they tweeted out the wrong version that Modi has wished Maryam Sharif, Nawaz Sharif’s daughter.

12. The Economic Times report on Tanmay Bhat and others

The above report had far too many errors to be taken seriously. Firstly some other user’s twitter handle was claimed to be that of Tanmay Bhat. The amount quoted as monthly earnings was also grossly overstated. The report also claimed that the AIB channel had 143.23 mn views, whereas on the day of publication, the channel had more than 150 mm views. Overall it was a shoddy piece of work.

13. Multiple media houses: Sunny Leone has added a “No Kissing” clause in her contracts.

Multiple media houses like Zee News, India Today and Times of India reported the above. This story was seemingly based only a speculative story in a bollywood site which claimed that because Sunny Leone had not been seen kissing any of her co-stars in her movie till date, it seemed odd. Daniel Weber, Sunny’s husband and manager trashed the reports and claimed there was no such clause.

14. News X: Tanmay Bhat wants cash for insult, asks Snapchat to pay him after video goes viral

News X clearly doesn’t get sarcasm. After his video insulting Sachin Tendulkar and Lata Mangeshkar went viral and became the latest outrage, Tanmay Bhat sarcastically tweeted that Snapchat should pay him for the free publicity. News X managed to believe this was an honest tweet and made a news story out of it.

15. Mumbai Mirror: Buzzfeed Editor Rega Jha is the daughter of Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha 

This tabloid news was obviously false and after severe twitter outrage, Mumbai Mirror admitted that they goofed up.

 

January 2016: 20 lies

February 2016: 22 Lies

March 2016: 17 Lies 

April 2016: 20 Lies

co-founder, OpIndia.com

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