On Friday, a section of international media had claimed that over 10,000 people had held protests in Srinagar opposing the government’s decision to abrogate article 370. The central government had already declared that the reports of the protest were fabricated and there were only stray incidents comprising not more than 20 persons at a time.
After that, there were reports run by Al-Jazeera and BBC claiming that the Indian Army has resorted to violence and has been firing at protestors in Jammu and Kashmir. The reports were subsequently picked up by many Indian and international channels.
The government of India has called these reports fabricated. The government has taken strong objection to such footage being run by media channels. As per a report published in the Economic Times, the government of India has asked both Al-Jazeera and BBC to produce the raw footage of the incidents they claimed happened in Jammu and Kashmir. The government has asked the channels whether they have any evidence to prove their claims were real.
As per the report in ET, the I and B Ministry, the Home Ministry and the Intelligence Bureau are keeping a close watch over the national and international media reportage over Jammu and Kashmir. So far 4 videos and 7 reports have been flagged as misleading or fake.
Home Ministry officials have stated that they are awaiting a response from the foreign media outlets but so far they have not received any raw footage or any evidence to prove the veracity of the videos. The ET report quoting Home Ministry officials also stated that MEA officials have been informed to ensure that unverified footage from Jammu and Kashmir does not get uploaded by any foreign media outlets.
The videos claiming that 10,000 protestors took part in the protests and Indian security forces fired bullets on them has been vehemently refuted by the authorities. J and K chief secretary BVR Subramaniam has stated that only stray protests with not more than 20 people have happened in Srinagar and Baramulla. He also confirmed that not a single bullet has been fired in the last week.
Home Ministry officials have reportedly found that the video claiming the protests and violence by security forces was first uploaded by Al-Jazeera then was picked up by BBC. 3 hours later, it was broadcast by all regional channels of BBC.
It is notable here that BBC has been known for its biased coverage of the Kashmir issue. Earlier in March, after the Pulwama attack and India’s retaliatory strike, BBC was exposed for selectively airing only anti-India views in their Kashmir segment.
BBC was exposed by OpIndia last year over their shoddy, blatantly biased claims which they had termed as ‘research’ and peddled that the rise of Hindu nationalism in India is the reason behind increased instances of fake news. BBC’s ‘research’ on fake news had proved to be the biggest fake news itself.