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Frontline magazine and TV9 Bharatvarsh channel acknowledge they published fake report on missing EVMs

The statement called out the malicious effort of the report to spread lies about EVMs to create doubts in the minds of the voters.

Election Commission of India (EC) has issued a clarification about a report published by few media houses that alleged 20 lakh electronic voting machines (EVMs) had gone missing from the possession of the ECI. Sheyphali. B. Sharan, the spokesperson for ECI issued an official statement addressed to the editors of Frontline magazine and TV9 Bharatvarsh channel on behalf of the commission to refute their virulent claims.

The story titled “Missing EVMs” authored by Venkitesh Ramakrishnan was published in the print edition of Frontline magazine dated May 24, 2019. Frontline is a fortnightly English language magazine published by The Hindu Group of publications from Chennai. TV Channel TV9 Bharatvarsh had telecast a report making the same allegations.

The report had quoted sources from an RTI-based public interest petition in the Bombay High Court to justify its claim. Through this report, the author had highlighted EVMs were vulnerability and unreliable through the ongoing 2019 general election. A claim that ECI has been discrediting all along.

ECI letter to Frontline

“It is noticed that this news story has selectively quoted some information obtained by an individual through RTI application from multiple Pubic Authorities and a PIL filed in the Bombay High Court. This news story carries only partial and one-sided information, which is inaccurate and based on the specious misinterpretation of the facts in the matter, therefore creating unwarranted doubts in the minds of the general public,” the statement read.

ECI letter to TV9 Bharatvarsh

The statement by ECI rejected the speculation made in the reports presuming the absence of proper system and infrastructure could lead to misplacement of EVMs along with misappropriation of funds. Rejecting these claims, the statement pointed out that ECI follows strict protocols and compliance procedures regarding the movement of the EVMs and VVPATs and no machine can leave the designated ECI warehouse without prior approval of the commission.

The statement also highlighted the fact that State Election Commissions (SECs) are independent constitutional bodies that conduct local body elections and do not fall under the jurisdiction of the ECI. The statement called out the malicious effort of the report to spread lies about EVMs to create doubts in the minds of the voters.

The ECI spokesperson informed that the editor of Frontline has acknowledged that their report is false and a rejoinder will be published. On the other hand, TV9 Bharatvarsh has deleted the report from their website and Youtube.

This is not the first time that a report associated with the Hindu group of publications has been caught lying and spreading fake news. We had reported earlier how N.Ram, the Chairman of Kasturi & Sons Limited and Publisher of The Hindu had lied about Rafael deal.

Although TV9 deleted their report, it has not stopped people using the false report in spreading fake propaganda. It has been seen that video recordings and images from the reports are being circulated on social media, even after they were refuted by ECI. And this is how misinformation is spread for political agenda. Even after the media houses take back their fake reports, they remain alive on social media and online forums, fulfiling the purpose of creating such fake reports.

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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