On 31st October, Washington Post (WaPo) had published a report titled ‘Rising Hate in India’ based on shockingly biased and faulty data compiled by IndiaSpend.com. Many pointed out how WaPo was furthering a partisan agenda.
Swati Goel Sharma, a journalist associated with Swarajya magazine, called out the selective data on communal violence in India, used by IndiaSpend. She demonstrated, with painstaking detail, how the data used by IndiaSpend was full of bias and cherrypicked to suit a particular narrative.
When Swati called out Washington Post on Twitter, she was referred to as a ‘troll’.
“I haven’t done an exhaustive study of the data but stumbled across this” said every troll, ever ?? https://t.co/1i44Hkmj9f
— Annie Gowen (@anniegowen) November 2, 2018
After prevaricating for days, IndiaSpend tried to explain their bias and responded to the acts of omissions and commissions Swati had pointed out. However, this attempt ended up exposing IndiaSpend further.
Swati, on Twitter, gave a point-by-point rebuttal of IndiaSpend’s attempted explanation, which showed how this supposed data-driven journalism attempt was nothing but a propagandist approach to further a communal agenda.
I hv been asked to respond to @FactCheckIndia‘s “response” to my report. Fact is, they only gave reasons for not picking 26/35 cases that I pointed to
Anyway, here’s a thread on their ‘response’ & how they alter their definition of hate crime when victim’s religion isnt suitable https://t.co/inRtd3jJ4S
— Swati Goel Sharma (@swati_gs) December 22, 2018
Swati points out that in April 2018, when 38-year old Dalit man Vidharam Katheria was bludgeoned to death by a group of Muslim men over a family dispute, it was not included in IndiaSpend’s ‘hate tracker’ because there was no ‘evidence’ the crime was motivated due to victim’s religion. However, in September 2018 when one Azhar Khan was beaten up for fishing near a temple, it gets included as a hate crime even though the motive were nowhere religious. Additionally, as per IndiaSpend’s data, the perpetrators of the crime was unknown.
In January 2018, the severed head of one Palakuri Ramesh Goud was found on a flagpost near a mosque, in an area thickly populated by Muslims. His body was traced about a kilometre away. This does not get included in the ‘hate tracker’ because ‘police did not find any communal angle to crime’. However, when Junaid was killed over seat dispute in train, it gets included in ‘hate crime’ despite the fact that the court had given a verdict that it was not a hate crime.
In August this year, one Babu Khan was beaten up in a mosque for participating in the Kanwar Yatra. But it was not included in ‘hate tracker’ because the religion of victim as well as perpetrators is Muslim. However, when a Dalit man was allegedly slapped and harassed for converting to Islam by Hindus, it is still a hate crime.
These are just three examples. Swati’s entire thread gives a point-to-point rebuttal exposing IndiaSpend’s anti-Hindu bias which it camouflages under the veil of neutrality.
This is not the only time propaganda websites have shown their anti-Hindu bias in their supposed objective analysis. We had earlier reported how Hindustan Times had also launched a biased ‘hate tracker’ which had similar biased reporting and factual flaws. IndiaSpend’s ‘fact-checker’ website also launched a ‘tracker’ which tried to track ‘cow-related’ crimes‘. That data was also equally flawed and biased.
Abhishek Banerjee, a columnist with OpIndia, had written about how IndiaSpend have regularly indulged in peddling this narrative. They had earlier filed a report how 87 people had died in cow-related violence since 2010, of which 97% of the crimes happened after Modi came to power. The above ‘interactive fact-check’ map is an extension of the same report’. As can be seen even then that their ‘research’ was based on ‘Google search’ with particular keywords.