Fact Check: Was Mahua Moitra Speech Plagiarised As Zee News Editor-In-Chief Claims?
Trinamool Congress’s leader Mahua Moitra, in her maiden speech at the Lok Sabha, created quite a roar as she spoke about the ‘seven early signs of fascism’. The speech drew great praise and applaud from a lot of people.
However, a section of people alleged that Moitra speech was plagiarised. Editor-in-chief of Zee News, in the broadcast of his show, Daily News and Analysis, called Moitra’s speech ‘hateful’ and alleged that her speech was plagiarised from a 2017 article which spoke about ‘12 early warning signs of fascism’ in Trump’s America.
He also tweeted the video of his show on Twitter. Soon after, several other people, including a few political leaders retweeted the same.
Moitra on July 4, submitted a breach of privilege motion in Lok Sabha against Zee TV and Sudhir Chaudhary. “Sir, under Rule 225, I have given a breach of privilege notice against Zee TV and its editor, Sudhir Chaudhary for falsely reporting my maiden address in this august House,” she said.
However, Speaker Om Birla disallowed it, as reported by ANI.
Was Moitra’s Speech Plagiarised?
Chaudhary alleged that Moitra’s speech was plagiarised from an article authored by Martin Longman. The article was published in Washington Monthly. The article titled “The 12 early warning signs of fascism” referred to United States administration under President Donald Trump. He also wrote that the same signs were listed in the Holocaust Museum.
Tweeting Longman’s article, Zee TV editor Chaudhary claimed that Moitra’s speech was plagiarised. He captioned it, “She has lifted the words directly from the article. The honour of a Parliamentarian is in danger.”
यही है अमेरिकी वेब्सायट का वो लेख जिसे तृणमूल कांग्रेस की सांसद महुआ मोइत्रा ने चुराकर लोक सभा में अपने भाषण में इस्तेमाल कर लिया।हुबहू बिलकुल वही शब्द लेख से सीधे उठा लिए और बोल दिए।संसद की गरिमा ख़तरे में है। https://t.co/4iP3YieHXA pic.twitter.com/HxaHqqdxKS
— Sudhir Chaudhary (@sudhirchaudhary) July 2, 2019
After Chaudhary, many other people including Shobha De, Makarand Paranjape, Kanchan Gupta and Vivek Agnihotri made similar claims.
In the complete video of Moitra speech, at 6:32 minute, she speaks about the poster that was put up in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2017 which contained a list of all signs of early fascism. “Each of the seven signs I have pointed to you, features on that poster,” she says.
“Do we want to be the upholders of this Constitution, or do we want to be its pallbearers?” – TMC's Mahua Moitra speaks about '7 signs of early fascism' in her maiden Lok Sabha speech.Video Credit: Lok Sabha TV
The Logical Indian ಅವರಿಂದ ಈ ದಿನದಂದು ಪೋಸ್ಟ್ ಮಾಡಲಾಗಿದೆ ಬುಧವಾರ, ಜೂನ್ 26, 2019
She also issued a long clarification on Twitter where she said, “This (allegation of plagiarism) is a clear attempt by the troll army of the BJP and certain media houses owing allegiance to the ruling party to obfuscate the real issues.”
— Mahua Moitra (@MahuaMoitra) July 3, 2019
Not only Moitra, but Longman himself tweeted that Moitra was being falsely accused of plagiarism.
I’m internet famous in India because a politician is being falsely accused of plagiarizing me. It’s kind of funny, but right-wing assholes seem to be similar in every country.
— Martin Longman (@BooMan23) July 2, 2019
The Logical Indian Take
Chaudhary’s tweet on the allegation on plagiarism still features on his Twitter handle. This despite clarification, and author Longman himself stating that his speech has not been plagiarised.
This is not the first time Chaudhary finds himself in the midst of controversy of such nature. Deepika Singh Rajawat, former counsel for the family of the eight-year-old girl from Kathua who was gang-raped and brutally murdered, slapped a legal notice on him for broadcasting allegedly false report on their show DNA, titled “देखें, गैंगरेप पीड़ित के नाम पर लाख का चन्दा जमा करने का खेल” (See, how they are collecting donations in the name of the gang-rape victim) in April 2018.
The Logical Indian hopes that journalists, who are entrusted with the responsiblity of bringing forth stories and issues that need public attention, do not indulge in spreading fake news themselves. This not only raises questions on the media as a whole but also leads to trust deficit in the minds of the public.