Veteran actor Rishi Kapoor passed away on the last day of April, only a day after the death of another very popular actor Irrfan Khan. Rishi Kapoor was admitted to H N Reliance hospital on Wednesday where he breathed his last. Following his death, a video had gone viral on social media after mainstream media houses and verified Twitter handles had claimed that the video was recorded hours before the demise of the Bollywood veteran. One such media house was India Today. Now, however, news director at India Today itself, Rahul Kanwal, published a ‘fact-check’ of the matter through his Twitter account.
Earlier, India Today had shared the video where it had urged its followers to ‘take a look’ at the ‘last visuals’ of the legendary actor. However, as it turns out, it was completely fake news. The tweet has, since then, been deleted. Normally, journalists are expected to verify a piece of news before sharing it with the larger population. However, in the race for TRP, the roles have been reversed. Journalists randomly share pieces of information without verifying them and do not correct them until the audience points it out, if at all they do so.
The tweet by India Today came at 5.56 p.m. and Rahul Kanwal’s factcheck was published at 7.27 pm. Thus, it took one and a half hour for those at India Today to verify the news. And although Rahul Kanwal did post a factcheck, he appears to have forgotten to apologise to his audience for spreading such insensitive misinformation. People are expected to be considerate during a period of mourning, however, the rush for TRP does make mainstream media houses abandon basic human decency frequently. However, it might be the first time that a media had to suffer the embarrassment of factchecking its own news.
Fact check on Rishi Kapoor’s ‘last message’ viral video:
A YouTube user named DK Sanu, had uploaded the video on Youtube much before his current hospitalisation. The video was actually shot earlier and was posted on Youtube on February 29 this year. Contrary to the claims of various media outlet, the video was not shot on Wednesday, a day before Rishi Kapoor’s death. It was shot much earlier, perhaps in February, when he was admitted for treatment after his health had deteriorated.
Apart from India Today, the fake news was shared by The Tribune and other individuals with a verified Twitter handle. In the viral video, it can be seen that Rishi Kapoor is smiling while lying in a hospital bed. Next to him, a man can be singing a rendition of ‘Tere Dard Se Dil’ – a song originally sung by Kumar Sanu. The song was a part of Rishi Kapoor’s film Deewana which also starred the late Divya Bharti and Shah Rukh Khan. In the end, Rishi Kapoor can be seen wiping tears off his face with a towel. Rishi Kapoor was also seen putting his hand to the man’s head to give blessings.