When media and media persons started a rumour: Indelible ink for withdrawals

Love it or hate it, media and especially mainstream media, is the one conduit of information which almost all Indians rely on. Be it the petrol price cut or the announcement of new measures during demonetisation, we all trust media to tell us the truth. Within this media there are media persons, and some very respected journalists, who we used to look up at. We expect that media and media persons, would feed us the correct information. But what does an ordinary citizen do when the media and media persons themselves fail?

In the current scenario, as the demonetisation scheme is being tweaked every few days so as to adapt to ever-changing needs, rumours too have begun flying thick and fast. We already had 2 rumour busting articles on our site, to alert citizens of our country to the facts. This is another one. And this besides busting a rumour, shows you how such rumours start.

It started off when the Economic Affairs Secretary held a press conference to announce many measures to ease the situation and also to add some sort of checks and balances. As is the fashion, news handles began live-tweeting his press conference. But Tweets have a character limit of 140 characters, and many times complex issues are misreported. And some thing like that happened here too:

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Soon media reports were created based on this and the Indelible ink measure was now related to withdrawals:

The truth?
The truth?

Another story

And eminent media persons followed the media, and offered their “valuable” insights:

And this started the outrage industry on social media. But was this the truth? See for yourself what Shaktikanta Das said:

He clearly says that the measure of using indelible ink, was only to curb the practice of converting unaccounted cash into legitimate money by employing people to repeatedly exchange money. So the ink was to be used ONLY for over the counter exchange and not for “withdrawals” as many media houses had reported and as many journalists had commented on. For ATM withdrawals and withdrawals via self cheque, there was no need to be inked.

This is not a new rule per-se because even the original notification said that the Rs 4000 (now Rs 4500) exchange mechanism was available to each person only once, and not per day. Hence the use of ink only ensures stricter implementation of an existing rule.

In fact as the rumour began spreading, Mr Das even tweeted out to clarify the position:

Some media sites corrected the initial misreporting, but the eminent media person would not dare come out of their ivory towers. Erich Segal in his bestseller “Love Story” had written that “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”. Our journalists love their job so much that for them “Journalism means never having to say you’re sorry”, even when you’re wrong. Ashwatthama is dead again…


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