Fact Check: The News That Got Widely Shared In The Last Week But Were Not True

The Logical Indian

May 6th, 2017 / 11:03 PM

Image Credit: newdelhitimes | medium

The problem of fake news is becoming a crisis in India, especially when credible media houses with millions of readers widely share such false stories.

Here is a breakdown of mainstream media misreporting in the last week:

1) UP CM Adityanath says the state will be donkey-free from June 15

Many media houses reported that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced the state to be donkey-free from June 15.

However, the CM’s speech was in Hindi and what he actually said was “Uttar Pradesh ki sadkein gaddha-mukt (pothole-free) ho jaayein.”

Media house mixed the word gaddha (pothole) with gadha (donkey), and reported the statement without verifying its legitimacy.

Many of the misleading stories are now updated with the correct news.

2.) Indian army blasts two bunkers of the Pakistani army

Media houses – both print media and television – reported earlier this week that the Indian army bombed and destroyed two Pakistani bunkers and posts along the Line of Control to avenge the killing and mutilation of its soldiers.

However, the Indian army responded to the falseness in the news and said, “TV channels go ballistic without asking us anything. When we retaliate, we will come out with an official statement.”

3) The Times of India reports NCERT textbook has a chapter on Maoist leader Kishenji

The Times of India wrote a story on May 3 which said that an NCERT textbook has a chapter on Naxalite leader Kishenji.

Kishenji is the military leader of the banned Maoist insurgent communist party in India.

However, the NCERT book actually had a chapter on Kishen Pattanik – a former MP who represented the Praja Socialist Party for the Sambalpur Constituency of India. He was a social leader, an author and an activist.

TOI mixed up the two names and published a false news with no verification.

The media house later published another article which said that the Kishenji in the book is not a naxal leader.

4) Karnataka Government grants law to protect ‘Gau Rakshaks’

The Times of India published a story which said that the Congress government in Karnataka defended before the Supreme Court its law granting protection to ‘Gau Rakshaks’.

TOI quoted the Karnataka government, claiming that it said in an ‘affidavit’, “The headnote to Section 15 (of the Act protecting Gau Rakshaks) makes it clear that any act done in good faith which alone is protected.”

However, the Chief Minister of Karnataka responded to the falseness in the story and tweeted regarding the same.

5) Chetan Bhagat’s Facebook post – “Let her take her time”

On April 26, a Facebook post by Chetan Bhagat titled ‘Let her take her time’ was widely shared on social media with scores of men and women criticizing his sexist views.

Media houses too wrote articles on the author’s post.

However, the post was not by Chetan Bhagat and had originated from a fake page.

All the media houses later took down the story and issued apologies for publishing the unverified news.

The Logical Indian Take

Media is the fourth pillar of democracy and it holds limitless influence in a vibrant country like India. However, when mainstream media outlets engage in popularising false or fake news stories – when the mainstream media does not take it upon itself to fact-check every bit of news story that it publishes, it can have disastrous consequences on the national debate. This is especially significant because we live in an era where WhatsApp forwards and tweets (that don’t require verification or are not bound by journalistic ethics) are getting undue traction and following. In such a time, if reputed mainstream outlets too give into the shouting matches and falsehoods of false news, it negatively affects us all.

The Logical Indian urges media houses to verify a story before publishing it as a news piece, as we strive to do the same.


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