Following the toolkit case linked with farmers' protest in India, several activists' names have started surfacing on the internet claiming to be "key conspirator" behind social media trend in support of farmers' protest. Author-activist Pieter Friedrich is one of those who are under the government's radar for the same.
Media outlets like Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) and Zee News shared a news report claiming that Pieter Friedrich is linked with the journalist Baba Umar who has a connection with the Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan (ISI). This claim was sourced via the Greek City Times and it made its way into Indian media very quickly.
The claim was carried forward by Dajiworld, The Siasat Daily, The Newsmen, socialnews.xyz, The Frustrated Indian and Kreately. All these sites claimed that Kashmiri journalist Baba Umar has links with the ISI.
The Greek City Times was referred in all these reports and it says, "The connection between Baba Umar and Pieter Friedrich suggests that Pakistan has started to act as a converging point to bring together all anti-India forces…Both of them have been following each other and promoting each other's content as well. Besides, Pieter Friedrich had done several interactions/productions with Baba Umar in the past. In one of the videos that he produced with Baba Umar, and is allegedly sponsored by Pakistan, he attacked India by taking a pro-Pakistani line on Kashmir."
The news reports claim that Baba Umar has links with the ISI and is involved with Pieter Friedrich.
Pieter Friedrich, the activist did not interview the journalist Baba Umar as claimed in the reports. Friedrich had interviewed Umar Baba, who is a Kashmiri pursuing a research project in South Korea. The interview was uploaded on YouTube on August 14, 2019, by Friedrich.
The referred interview in the claims happened in April 2019 where Friedrich spoke about issues in Kashmir with Umar Baba and not the journalist Baba Umar.
The same was made clear by the activist on Twitter.
This is the level of stupidity of allegations leveled against me & the quality of research. They assail me for having ties to @BabaUmarr, a @trtworld journalist, because I interviewed a Kashmiri named Baba Umar. A different Baba. Good going. 🙄https://t.co/BrWpN0alvY— Pieter "Spidey" Friedrich (@FriedrichPieter) February 20, 2021
One of the tweets from his thread also mentioned that Baba Umar and Umar Baba, whom he interviewed are two different people.
To reiterate, I have never interviewed @BabaUmarr and the person they are claiming as him as a South Korea based researcher named Umar Baba. Two entirely different people.— Pieter "Spidey" Friedrich (@FriedrichPieter) February 20, 2021
Baba Umar, a Kashmiri journalist who is based in Turkey and currently works for TRT World has worked professionally for 15 years. He is being referred to in the reports claiming to have links with ISI. The journalist took to Twitter as well to dismiss these claims and said, "I deny having ever interviewed by @FriedrichPieter as claimed by @greekcitytimes in its baseless article, amplified by @ZeeNewsEnglish @ians_india through their dishonest journalism. Pieter talked to Umar Baba, a scientist/ different person, NOT ME."
According to Baba Umar, the wide circulation of these false claims has caused severe anguish to him along with repercussions of massive abuse and hate towards him and his family.
I deny having ever interviewed by @FriedrichPieter as claimed by @greekcitytimes in its baseless article, amplified by @ZeeNewsEnglish @ians_india through their dishonest journalism.— Baba Umar (@BabaUmarr) February 22, 2021
Pieter talked to Umar Baba, a scientist/ different person, NOT ME.
It's a cock-and-bull story https://t.co/QQwNgH4nqp
So, dubious @greekcitytimes 'probes' a talk between @FriedrichPieter and some South Korea-based Umar Baba, and wants people to believe it's ME. https://t.co/sQNZonaHxp— Baba Umar (@BabaUmarr) February 20, 2021
Then, woke Zee journalist replicates it https://t.co/LDSStegF7g
UMAR BABA ≠ BABA UMAR ≠ BABA GHANOUSH
Thus, Indian news media outlets used false and unverified information from an irrelevant source to make a false claim that Kashmiri Journalist Baba Umar has ISI links.
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