On Friday, The Print, the media venture of Shekhar Gupta who heads the Editors Guild of India, in what seems to be a shameless admission of mainstream media being the biggest purveyor of fake news, had published an article urging liberals and opposition parties to embrace fake news in their war against Prime Minister Modi.
Calling for curbs on freedom of expression of individuals and crackdown on political opponents, The Print had suggested that the opposition parties should attack the Modi government with a chain of lies. The moral depravity to actively support the spreading of misinformation and fake news, especially by a media venture controlled by Chief of the Editor’s Guild had caused a huge furore across the social media.
Taking a note against the misinformation war by the Congress ecosystem against the ruling BJP, Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways, former army chief General VK Singh on Friday lambasted Shekhar Gupta for his endorsement of fake news campaign to target the Modi government.
In his tweet, Retd General VK Singh said that it is a democratic right to retweet an article that questions the government and also when the article draws parallels with other world events.
Attacking Shekhar Gupta, however, Singh said that when someone retweets an article that not only questioned the government but also slyly advised the opposition parties to peddle fake news or stifle voices in opposition-ruled states, it will be a disservice to their fraternity.
The strong response from the Union Minister came after Shekhar Gupta had himself tweeted the controversial article, which made a strong pitch for opposition parties and detractors of Modi government to indulge in a disinformation campaign to discredit their efforts.
Union Minister VK Singh also took a dig at Shekhar Gupta, by calling him ‘Coupta’ – an infamous buzzword often used in social media circles to define Shekhar Gupta for planting a fake coup story against the India Army when Singh was the army chief, and also asked him to be honest to the post of the editor even if he cannot be honest to his professions.
It is pertinent to note that Shekhar Gupta, during his time as the editor of Indian Express, had come up with a conspiracy theory in 2012 claiming that two Army units had moved towards Delhi to stage a coup against the elected government in Delhi. The hit job by Shekhar Gupta and Indian Express was made to target then Chief of Army Staff General VK Singh.
Referring to Shekhar Gupta, as a ‘sold out’ journalist, General VK Singh mocked the senior journalist of living up to him name by resorting to planting fake coup stories to advising curbing speech and peddling fake news.
The attack against Shekhar Gupta comes at a time when ‘The Print‘ has emerged as a notorious fake news purveyor in recent times. The Print has been at the forefront of fighting the misinformation war against the Modi government on behalf of the opposition parties. Perhaps, the brains behind the Print have now thought that they could now try to be in relevance by mainstreaming fake news as a reality.