Following the social media outrage and Mumbai Police trashing the report about molestation of Elphinstone stampede victim, legacy newspaper The Hindu was forced to withdraw the story and claimed their story was “the result of the failure to adhere to journalistic norms”. In a series of tweets late Tuesday night, The Hindu expressed regret at publishing the story:
The Hindu Mumbai, too, posted an apology which would be carried in the print edition the following day.
An apology which will appear in print in the edition dated 4th October. pic.twitter.com/6Hj9vItcs0
— The Hindu Mumbai (@THMumbai) October 3, 2017
On Monday we had reported how social media was sceptical of the “Elphinstone stampede: Dying woman molested on bridge by bystander, video shows” story by The Hindu which could not be corroborated with any proper evidence.
Following this, a lot of people started questioning The Hindu about the malicious reporting.
The reason why people took the claims of The Hindu very seriously was because, it shook the very core of everyone who read it, owing to the ghastly circumstances under which it was reported to have happened.
The thought of a bystander molesting a woman seconds away from breathing her last was a depth of degeneracy few had imagined. However, at a time when we are trying very hard to fight the ‘criminalising marital rape will be misused like dowry law’ mindset of people in our fight to criminalise marital rape, incidents like these act as deterrents to strengthen our case.
The story by The Hindu was not only curated by other Indian media houses, but even International media houses had picked it up.
Woman ‘molested’ on bridge in Mumbai as she lay dying https://t.co/3PUmjFMnME
— The Independent (@Independent) October 3, 2017
This fuelled the outrage amongst social media users who have long questioned the credibility of mainstream media reporting. A lot of users wanted the reporter and the editorial team held accountable for making a monster out of an innocent man.
Some showed their protest by blocking the Twitter account of The Hindu
— Pawan Durani (@PawanDurani) October 3, 2017
Well,@the_hindu doesn’t deserve any audience. Blocked it.
— Ravi Kiran (@ravithinkz) October 3, 2017
While others demanded resignation of Vedika Chaubey, who has indulged in mischievous reporting of news in the past.
Sack the pervert @vedikachaubey and hand her over to police. also compensate both the victims for false deliberate planted story
— Innov8 (@pliersnwires) October 4, 2017
— अंकित जैन (@indiantweeter) October 4, 2017
Their arrogance and unwillingness to accept that they are being forced to be vigilant, as readers are more alert and taken up fact checking upon themselves is appalling.
Yes, thanks for the vicious gloating.
But think of what it takes to recognise and apologise for an error. https://t.co/j1gcS1tpg9
— Narayan Lakshman (@narlak) October 4, 2017
— Nidhi Razdan (@Nidhi) October 4, 2017
Abusive troll also chimed in with her whataboutery.
Real courage to admit to mistake. Needs to be welcomed. We can all err. Unlike some who fantasise & offer no answer like Arnab https://t.co/rstkrCkqv5
— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) October 4, 2017
While admitting mistake is indeed rare and takes a lot of courage, spreading fake and unverified stories is extremely common and a lot easier to carry out. Readers expecting unbiased reporting and real stories instead of sensational pieces to get traffic on the website isn’t too much to ask for.