Controversial journalist Rajdeep Sardesai has been reportedly taken off air temporarily by India Today after he was caught spread news during the tractor rally on Republic Day in Delhi. The media house is also cutting his salary for one month. According to reports, India Today has taken the unprecedented step to penalise the senior journalist violated social media policies of the media house several times.
On January 26, when the riot by the protesting ‘farmers’ was at its peak in Delhi, Rajdeep Sardesai had reported that one farmer was shot dead by Delhi police. He had tweeted, “one person, 45-year-old Navneet killed allegedly in police firing at ITO.” In a bid to pump up emotions, he had added, “Farmers tell me: the ‘sacrifice’ will not go in vain.” He had also tweeted a picture of the deceased’s body covered in the Indian tricolour.
This was blatantly fake news, as the person had died after the tractor he was driving had overturned. His own channel was reporting this fact, along with other media houses. After it was pointed out to him on Twitter, he had deleted the tweet. But it didn’t stop him from spreading the fake news, as when he went live on India Today, he repeated the lie and said that the farmer was shot in the head by police. He claimed that Navneet Singh was driving the tractor and he was “shot in the head” and suffered a bullet injury that resulted in his death.
Subsequently, video of the incident had appeared which showed that Navneet Singh’s tractor had turned turtle after he tried a stunt on the road. Moreover, it also became known that after accident, the police had tried to rescue him, but the protesting farmers at the spot prevented them from doing so, causing the death of the person.
This had caused a huge backlash against Sardesai on social media, with netizens demanding that India Today should take action against him. Now, if reports are to be believed, it seems the channel has finally decided to not shield the serial fake news peddler anymore, and he has been taken off air for two weeks. According to reports, the channel has also decided cut one month’s salary for the anchor. The media house has cited his fake news on the issue, and the facts that have emerged while taking this action.
Over a year ago, Rajdeep Sardesai had issued an unconditional apology to an IPS officer for spreading fake news in relation to the Sohrabuddin encounter case in 2007. He had done so after IPS officer Rajiv Trivedi had filed a case against him.