Monday, July 22, 2024
HomeNews Reports'Perception of him being a fake journalist is true': Read OpIndia's response to Meer...

‘Perception of him being a fake journalist is true’: Read OpIndia’s response to Meer Faisal’s legal notice

We stand by our articles and will not be issuing an apology. About your client being “perceived” as a fake journalist and anti-national – we would like to place on record that we believe that ‘perception’ is a result of his own actions and we believe that perception to be true. 

Meer Faisal, the self-proclaimed Muslim rights activist and supposed ‘journalist’ who regularly spreads fake news against Hindus, whose account had been previously withheld in India and who was quoted by ISIS to target Hindus, sent OpIndia a legal notice on the 2nd of July. The legal notice was against this article published by OpIndia where we wrote about the fake news peddled by Meer Faisal and the subsequent demonisation of Hindus. As soon as the legal notice was emailed, it found its way to media portals which zealously covered the contents of the legal notice. Since Meer Faisal has decided to go to the media with his legal notice, we believe it is only fair that our response is also published for the benefit of our readers.

Following is our response. The content of the legal notice is in italics, followed by our response to the accusations.

At the very outset of your notice, you have claimed that your client is a law-abiding and respectable citizen of India. We would like to reject that assertion basis the fact that the Government of India had withheld the X account of Meer Faisal because of the repeated sharing of fake news and supposedly disturbing the law and order situation with his fake news. 

Following is the point-wise response to your legal notice.

  1. 1. That you the Noticee, have on various occasions published articles concerning my Client which are not only false, malicious, fabricated and far from truth but are also extremely defamatory in nature wherein such articles have portrayed him as a radical Islamist and anti-national having links with illegal and banned organizations. It was because of such articles being peddled by you the Noticee that the previous Twitter handle of my Client has been withheld in India.

We would like to place on record that our reports are factual and that we have not “linked him” with illegal and banned organizations. The illegal and banned organization – ISIS – associated itself with Meer Faisal because of his ‘stellar’ work as a ‘journalist’. We merely reported it. You should take this issue up with ISIS – not us. 

  • 2. The said article revolves around the story of a man who had shared a disturbing photo of an animal being allegedly slaughtered in a slaughterhouse on his WhatsApp status. After the said photo became viral on the internet, the man received immediate backlash and legal action as an FIR was registered against him. The said man, who ran a garment shop in Nahan, Himachal Pradesh was soon hounded by certain right-wing organizations and his shop was vandalized and looted by the public in full view of the police. It was later confirmed by the police that the animal in the said photo was a buffalo (permitted animal for slaughter) and not a cow (not a permitted animal for slaughter). You the Noticee have in your article alleged that my Client has skipped a material fact in his reporting that the animal was cow and the religious sentiments of hindus were offended by the image. It is worth mentioning that the police investigation has revealed that the image posted by the man was indeed that of a buffalo and not cow which proves that my Client had not misreported or omitted any material act while sharing the video but had in fact made a correct factual reporting of the situation. However, it is you the Noticee which seem to have been after my Client and want to weaken his credibility as a journalist for reasons best known to you. It is reiterated at the cost of repetition that my CIient has done correct reporting and the post on his Twitter Account where a video with the caption “ln Himachal, Hindutva mob attacked the Muslim man’s shop in front of the police, looting and vandalizing it after he shared a picture of an animal sacrifice on his WhatsApp status” was uploaded by my Client has been confirmed by Mr Abhishek, Superintendent of Police, Shamli District Uttar Pradesh

We thank you for confirming our report. In your notice, you mentioned that Meer Faisal in his reportage tweeted that a picture of “animal sacrifice” was uploaded on the accused’s WhatsApp status, leading to the “Hindutva mob” attacking the Muslim man’s shop. 

In his tweet, Meer Faisal mentioned that the accused had shared an image of “Animal sacrifice” on his WhatsApp, because of which, a “Hindutva mob” attacked his shop. In this tweet itself, Meer Faisal purposely did not disclose that the Hindus believed the animal being slaughtered was a cow, because of which they vandalized his shop. Cow slaughter is banned in the state and the cow itself holds great religious significance to Hindus.

By terming it merely an image of “animal sacrifice” and the Hindus protesting as a “Hindutva mob”, Meer Faisal hid the material fact to give the impression that the Hindus who were protesting as purposefully and needlessly violent. He seems to have wanted to project that the outraged community was driven purely by their hatred for the accused, owing to his Muslim religious identity, instead of informing readers that the Hindus were outraged specifically because they believed the animal being sacrificed to be a cow.

Meer Faisal should have used a picture of the ‘alleged cow slaughter’. It is also noteworthy that animal slaughter is literally intrinsic to Bakrid and no Muslim has been beaten up for that, so the use of ‘animal slaughter’ instead of ‘alleged cow slaughter’ was meant to suggest that a Muslim was beaten up for practicing his religion rather than indulging in a banned act that Hindus deem provocative. 

We, therefore, stand by our assertion that Meer Faisal withheld material facts of the case when he reported the incident with the intention of painting Hindus in a negative light, which is the essence of his entire “journalistic” career. 

  • 3. This clearly shows that you the Noticees have a personal vendetta with my Client because of which the above-mentioned article has been published and the contents of the article being absolutely false, fabricated, baseless, libellous and malicious and made deliberately to malign the reputation of my Client which my Client enjoys. Additionally, the article is a classic example of reckless and unethical journalism practiced bringing disrepute and ignominy on respectable persons be sensationalizing unverified reports. It appears that the same has been done with an intention to increase popularity of the website and other media presence of Oplndia.

As I said before, we reject the claim that Meer Faisal is a respectable person and/or has any credibility. Our intention was to talk about the manner in which material facts are hidden by Islamists to tarnish Hindus. We stand by it. 

  • If you could have bothered to go into the niceties of the issue and had delved into the facts before publishing the Articles, it would have been amply clear that my Client has not done any false reporting or has been spreading any news that could be called radical Islamist in nature but is nothing more than responsible journalism. The contents of the article are in no manner a reflection of the true and correct facts of the situation as neither my Client has done any misleading reporting nor is he trying to spread hatred amongst religious communities.

I am not very sure what you mean by “bothered to go into the niceties of the issue”, however, we have already demonstrated how our assertions were correct. We stand by them. 

As for Meer Faisal being an Islamist and attempting to spread religious hatred between communities I would like to submit the following: 

Meer Faisal repeatedly spreads verifiably fake news against Hindus, in one of the incidents, calling a Hindu a ‘terrorist’ based on fake news. We stand by our assertion that he spreads religious hatred, especially when he terms all non-Muslims as Kafir. Further, an Islamist is someone who advocates increasing the influence of Islamic law in politics and society and supports Islamic fundamentalism. The fact that Meer Faisal has asserted that all non-Muslims are Kafirs is proof of the fact that he supports fundamentalism. Further, Meer Faisal should publicly declare that he does not believe in increasing the influence of Islamic law in politics and society, if he has a problem with the epithet. 

  • 4. Amongst the people who have visited the website and read the article, many have believed the contents of the article and have even shared it, causing immense hardships to my Client and has caused a threat to his life because of the careless journalism. The unfortunate and brazen part is that you have allowed/ did not restrict people from viewing and sharing the Articles and helping in reiterating the false, fabricated, baseless, libellous, and malicious content and tried to reinforce the idea being disseminated by the Articles.

We have published reports busting the religiously motivated fake news by your client. If he wishes to not be branded as a fake news peddling Islamist, he should stop peddling fake news and spreading religious hate against Hindus. We stand by our articles. Further, it is a rather unlettered expectation that we would STOP people from reading the articles that we have published on our portal. We will obviously not stop people from reading our articles and reinforce the facts we have published – that is how journalism works. 

  • 5. On account of your articles, my Client is being perceived as a fake journalist or anti-national having connection with illegal groups in the eyes of the general public and therefore, the articles need to be urgently taken off and at least a clarification in the shape of apology is warranted in the circumstances to salvage the reputation of my Client.

We stand by our articles and will not be issuing an apology. About your client being “perceived” as a fake journalist and anti-national – we would like to place on record that we believe that ‘perception’ is a result of his own actions and we believe that perception to be true. 

We, therefore, reject the accusations leveled in the notice and believe we acted in good faith, presenting the truth in our reports. 

Join OpIndia's official WhatsApp channel

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Related Articles

Trending now

Recently Popular

- Advertisement -