Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after coming back from his 3-day trip to the USA for bilateral meetings and for the UNGA summit, went straight to monitor the construction of the new Central Vista. In an attempt to mock PM Modi, Congress took to Twitter to post morphed images of him walking the construction site of Central Vista.
Rohan Gupta, ‘Chairman’ of the Social Media Department of Congress posted a morphed image where he showed that a cameraman was lying down on the floor and clicking a picture of PM Modi walking across the construction site of Central Vista. The image was clearly morphed, made to show that PM Modi was taking an update on the Central Vista project as a publicity stunt.
Rohan Gupta posted this image with the caption, “Photographer of the Month”.
Photographer of the Month 😀😀😀 pic.twitter.com/BqPVLIoJof— Rohan Gupta (@rohanrgupta) September 27, 2021
Interestingly, this clearly morphed image was not marked as ‘manipulated media’ by social media giant Twitter. If one recalls, On 19 May 2021, Congress shot off an email to Twitter, asking the social media behemoth to permanently suspend Twitter accounts of BJP leaders JP Nadda, Sambit Patra, Smriti Irani, BL Santosh and many other functionaries for sharing a toolkit, which they claimed was prepared by the Congress party to sully the reputation of the Modi government amidst the raging COVID-19 outbreak.
The email was sent a day after the BJP leaders had exposed a toolkit that entailed point-by-point instructions for the Congress workers for attacking the Modi government. From maligning the Kumbh Mela and describing it as ‘super spreader’ to using international media and ‘friendly’ journalists to defame PM Modi, to blocking beds and hoarding other essential supplies for favourable social media PR, the content of the toolkit included a range of directives for the loyal Congress leaders and supporters to be followed to paint PM Modi and his government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak in a bad light.
Twitter, within a day, had marked the Toolkit images as ‘manipulated media’ clearly telling people that they thought the image of the toolkit was fake. It is pertinent to note that Twitter had no proof to allege that the toolkit was fake, except the word of Congress itself.
While Twitter was more than happy to oblige Congress and become a part of their Toolkit, the social media giant has failed to take action against Congress functionaries sharing patently morphed images, like the one shared by Rohan Gupta.
Further, not only has Twitter not bothered to mark the fake image as ‘manipulated media’, but the usual “fact-checkers” who claim that they uphold the truth, have conveniently missed taking action against this post. BoomLive and AltNews, the self-proclaimed fact-checkers who often give covering fire to Islamists focussed on “fact-checking” a different fake image instead of the one shared by Congress.
BoomLive, while ignoring this fake image by Congress, “fact-checked” a clearly fake post where it was claimed that the New York Times praised PM Modi after his visit to the USA.
Fact-checking the image, BoomLive came to the conclusion that the New York Times post was created as a satire.
AltNews, on the other hand, focus on “fact-checking” random videos of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, which were authentic, but according to them, were used to “show he was disrespected”. Essentially, AltNews wrote a cock-and-bull “fact check” in an attempt to prove that Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were respectful of Manmohan Singh and disprove the video evidence to the contrary that has been available for years.
The fact-check was done by Mohammad Zubair, the AltNews co-founder who is being investigated under POCSO for bullying and doxxing a minor girl.
While BoomLive focussed on proving that an image praising PM Modi was satire, AltNews focussed on proving that Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi never disrespected former PM Manmohan Singh. In doing so, they clearly did not bother “fact-checking” an obvious morphed image posted by Congress itself because their fact-checking is meant to serve the purpose either of Islamists or political parties that oppose BJP, PM Modi, or those elements who work against the cause of India itself.
In fact, even Shekhar Gupta’s The Print attempted to ‘fact-check’ the New York Times satire by claiming that the image was ‘viral’, when it actually was not.
While the satire image of New York Times was clearly not viral, the ‘satire’ image posted by Rohan Gupta was shared by several anti-Modi, anti-India elements to mock the Prime Minister, and yet, BoomLive and The Print chose to “fact-check” the NYT image instead of this one, while POCSO accused Mohammad Zubair chose to eulogise Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
Rohan Gupta, the habitual offender
Earlier in 2017, Rohan Gupta had posted a fake ‘survey’ predicting poll results, which showed Congress set to sweep the assembly elections that were underway in Gujarat at the time.
Parindu Bhagat, in charge of Gujarat election legal cell, on behalf of BJP leaders had filed a complaint about Rohit Gupta, tweeting an exit poll for the Gujarat Assembly Elections. This ‘exit poll’ showed Congress getting 65+ seats out of a total of 89 constituencies, in the first phase of the Gujarat election. BJP was pegged to get 22 seats while others were pitted to get 2 seats.
Rohan Gupta’s act of posting an exit poll violated the Election Commission’s notification which banned the publishing of exit polls till the second phase of voting concluded. Not to mention, that the survey was entirely fake. Rohan Gupta had been booked for the same by the Crime Branch on the instructions of the Election Commission, according to Times of India. That case still appears to be pending.
It is pertinent to note that the IT cell head Rohan Gupta is the son of Congress leader Rajkumar Gupta.