The Times of India (TOI) on Tuesday tendered an apology for carrying a misleading image of a Hindu saint in an article titled, “Maharashtra ‘godman’ forces men into unnatural sex, held”.
As reported by us, the article carried a social share image depicting a Hindu saint which insinuated that the crime was committed by a Hindu:
Shockingly though the content reveals that the accused was actually was Muslim named Asif Noori. Incidentally, TOI had earlier too given misleading spins to such reports which included calling Muslim godmen as “Tantriks” and “Swamis” in its story headlines.
Such a repeated offence by TOI resulted in a furore on social media, following which the newspaper has tendered an apology:
We tweeted a wrong representative illustration with a story on a religious conman yesterday. We apologise for the mistake. The wrong tweet was deleted as soon as we realised the error. The story itself had the correct generic graphic representative image. https://t.co/HEFxTA9248
— Times of India (@timesofindia) July 24, 2018
Even though it appeared that TOI wanted to desperately put this incident behind it, social media users were in no mood to let the newspaper off the hook:
This would have been acceptable if it were a one time error. This happens rather regularly. This is more than a mistake. It’s deliberate. https://t.co/rHHwXFO3iJ
— Ram (@ramprasad_c) July 24, 2018
TOI apologizes…. Just within !8 Hrs of our Collective Campaign, That’s the fear of Law I wish to instill in each and every Biased Media House and Corrupt Journalist. This time we r not accepting apology. Good Work People…. @ippatel https://t.co/aQO1yANnO9
— Vibhor Anand (@vibhor_anand) July 24, 2018
This has not happened for the first time… First hurt hindu sentiments and then say sorry https://t.co/h1td7RsUnD
— नंदिता ठाकुर (@nanditathhakur) July 24, 2018
One user even questioned why the updated image depicted a child and not a Muslim cleric, considering the newspaper was keen on giving a religious angle via the image:
Shame on you, why is your current representative illustration now not showing that of a mullah. Shame on you.
— rksandhu (@rksandhu63) July 24, 2018
It remains to be seen whether TOI would take lessons from this episode and prevent the occurrence of such malicious incidents in the future.