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From ‘Dr Aisha’ to WSJ and NYT: The Top 10 Fake News for the year 2020 and their fact-checks

Misinformation was rife across all areas of public life, not just the pandemic or politics. At OpIndia, we have regularly busted fake news spread by the mainstream media and politicians that the media refuses to fact-check.

The year 2020 was the year of Fake News and Fact Checks. Apart from the Coronavirus pandemic, there was an epidemic of fake news as well. Misinformation was rife across all areas of public life, not just the pandemic or politics. At OpIndia, we have regularly busted fake news spread by the mainstream media and politicians that the media refuses to fact-check.

Here is our list of the Top 10 fact-checks for the year 2020.

Media misquotes deceased IB sleuth Ankit Sharma’s brother

IB Constable Ankit Sharma was murdered by an Islamist mob during the anti-Hindu riots at the national capital. Former AAP Councilor Tahir Hussain is an accused in the murder. The Wall Street Journal claimed that they were told by the deceased’s brother that Sharma was murdered by a mob chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’.

Ankur Sharma, however, debunked these claims and said he never made that comment and pointed fingers at Tahir Hussain instead. The WSJ report, however, was carried by others as well and reported as gospel truth. Our fact-check can be read here.

Rahul Gandhi gets ‘fact-checked’ by the Russian Embassy in India

Rahul Gandhi has recently claimed that the annual summit between India and Russia has been cancelled due to Moscow’s unease with Quad. Interestingly Gandhi had quoted The Print’s report in which it was alleged the meeting was postponed after Russia “expressed severe reservations on New Delhi joining the Indo-Pacific initiative and Quad, thereby tilting more towards the US.”

The result? Rahul Gandhi was fact-checked by the Russian Embassy itself. Our detailed report can be read here.

Fear-mongering claims about the COVID vaccine

Scientists worked overtime to develop a vaccine for the virus. However, there are several misleading claims about the vaccine and its importance that are making the rounds on social media platforms that need to be debunked.

The claims range from “Why do we need a vaccine?” and “The vaccine will alter the DNA of humans”. We debunk the myths in a comprehensive report here.

Rahul Gandhi claims Chinese forces have intruded 1200 km into Indian territory

Attacking PM Narendra Modi during an election rally at Nawada ahead of the Bihar assembly elections over Chinese aggression at the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, Rahul Gandhi alleged that it was PM Modi who handed over 1,200 kilometres of India’s land to China.

The claim was, of course, false and had no connections with observable reality. The comments were part of a series of misinformation campaign initiated by the Opposition parties over the conflict between India and China at the LAC. Our comprehensive report on the matter can be read here.

‘Ecosystem’ creates a ‘Hindu mob attacked Tanishq showroom’ narrative

A day after the Tanishq showroom in Gandhidham, Kutch in Gujarat apologised to Hindus for the controversial advertisement glorifying ‘love jihad’, the ecosystem came together to build a narrative that the showroom was ‘attacked’ by a ‘mob’ and that the owners were ‘forced’ to put up the apology. It all started when NDTV published ‘breaking news’ that the Gandhidham showroom was ‘attacked’.

In the end, the entire turned out to be a gigantic farce. Our detailed report can be read here.

Kashmiri Muslim woman called ‘terrorist’ by her landlady in Delhi?

In October, various media outlets had reported an attack against a Kashmiri woman named Noor Bhat. The media reports suggested that the Kashmiri woman was assaulted and abused by her landlady and a man in Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar. However, a day after the woman in southeast Delhi claimed that she was assaulted and abused by her landlady for being a ‘Kashmiri’, more details emerged in the matter exposing her dubious claims.

Our detailed report in the matter can be read here.

Did a Muslim lawyer represent Bhagat Singh and a ‘Brahmin RSS’ man fought for the British against him?

Liberals got innovative in their attempts to peddle their ‘secular’ agenda but unfortunately for them, it led them into making comments that were ostensibly fake news. Social media was rife with misleading claims that Asaf Ali, a Congress member, had defended Bhagat Singh against the British government while ‘RSS’ man Suryanarayan Sharma had worked against the freedom fighter.

The claim, as most such claims made by the liberal grade, turned out to be a titanic lie. Our detailed report can be read here.

‘United Nations’ NGO appreciated ‘Kingdom of Mamata Banerjee’ for their Covid-19 work?

It was a moment of honour for the West Bengal government when a Japan-based non-profit organization associated with the ‘United Nation’ took notice of their work amid the coronavirus pandemic and sent a letter of appreciation to the minister of state, Nirmal Maji. This piece of good news, a moment of pride of West Bengal, was shared by the All India Trinamool Congress on its official Twitter handle.

Was it true? Was the Trinamool Congress accurate in flaunting the NGO’s letter? There are quite a few twists to this story. You can make up your mind after reading the report here.

The curious case of Dr Aisha: The perfect ‘Muslim’ victim of the Wuhan Coronavirus

The Liberal camp is always on the lookout for the perfect victim whose story it can weaponise to peddle its propaganda. Dr Aisha, who tweeted under the handle @Aisha_must_sayz, supposedly lost her life to the Wuhan Coronavirus after being put on ventilator on the occasion of Eid-al-Adha. The news of her death went viral on social media with an outpouring of grief from all quarters.

Dr. Aisha was young and pretty, as evident from the photographs she shared, but the propaganda collapsed even before it could take off. Our detailed report on the matter can be read here.

NYT insiniuates Hindus are behind Tiktok videos urging Muslims to shun social distancing during Coronavirus crisis

During the early days of the Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic in India, there were an epidemic of videos on TikTok where Muslim youth could be seen spreading misinformation about the virus. A deliberate attempt was made to insinuate that the TikTok videos, where Muslims advocate against social distancing and ask fellow Muslims to place their faith in Namaz and Allah instead, was somehow created by Hindus to make Muslims fall sick.

Our detailed report on the matter can be read here.

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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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