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Hindustan Times labels BJP as ‘party of goons’, later deletes tweet and issues apology: Here is what they said

The deliberate use of the defamatory hashtag by a leading English daily irked several social media users, who then slammed the publication for being partisan and biased.

On Saturday (May 7) morning, the national English daily Hindustan Times courted controversy for labelling the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as ‘Gundon ki Party’ (party of goons).

The publication had tweeted, “In a dramatic sequence of events on Friday, #BJPGundoKiParty leader Tajinder Singh Bagga was arrested by the Punjab Police and brought back to Delhi within hours.”

Screengrab of the contentious tweet by Hindustan Times

The deliberate use of the defamatory hashtag by a leading English daily irked several social media users, who then slammed the publication for being partisan and biased.

“Seriously? This hashtag passed editorial scrutiny? Or is it reflective of HT’s considered editorial policy? Or, part of a deal the paper may have entered into for Delhi Government ads, perhaps?” inquired veteran journalist Kanchan Gupta.

Popular Twitter user Alok Bhatt remarked, “Aapiya handler of Hindustan Times forgot to change handle and ended up tweeting from @htTweets instead – tweet stands deleted. First tweet of this hashtag after a year was 2 days ago and was by the Vadodara branch of AAP.”

Another popular Twitter user Rosy tweeted, “SHAMELESS Hindustan Times. This is the hashtag you will use to report on Tajinder Bagga Kidnapping ?? Are you a news organization even??”

While taking cognisance of the matter, BJYM President Tejasvi Surya pointed out, “If mainstream news portals like Hindustan Times goes this way, then we will have to change the definition of what mainstream is.”

Hindustan Times ‘regrets’ its error, vows to not repeat it again

On being called out on social media, Hindustan Times tendered an apology and deleted the contentious tweet. The English daily stated, “An autopull feature on Tweetdeck used a mischievous hashtag for the BJP and the tweet was published before this could be manually checked and corrected. We sincerely regret the error.”

It is, however, not clear how an auto pull function would insert the hashtag so effectively in the right place, and therefore, the apology by Hindustan Times appears facetious.

In a subsequent tweet, it claimed, “We are reviewing our social media publishing processes and putting in place measures to ensure this does not happen again.”

Screengrab of the tweets by Hindustan Times

In July 2021, Hindustan Times had courted controversy for trying to whitewash Batla House encounter convict Ariz Khan. Despite Khan being convicted of killing Delhi cop Mohan Chand Sharma Hindustan Times, the English daily tried to absolve the Indian Mujahideen terrorist of the heinous crime by prefixing the term ‘alleged’ before his name.

The typical pattern of various media houses, of the likes of Hindustan Times, to humanize the terrorists did not fail to catch the attention of various social media users.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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