With the election coming up, more and more fake news have been doing the rounds on social media. Reportedly, a doctored image that shows the headline “21 Sikh regiment refused to fight for India” on news channel Republic TV made many Twitter users, including a prominent journalist and a politician, fall prey to it.
The additional information visible in the morphed image’s ticker tape clearly shows that the original image carried a different headline which read “Big Victory For Republic TV”.
The morphing in established by other inconsistencies. For example, the entire background is generally filled out by Republic TV’s banner headlines. Furthermore, news channels generally do not use past tense in their breaking headlines.
The Sikh Regiment’s insignia that can be seen in the background happens to be another red flag, because this is not how news flashes appear, reported The Print.
Those who fell prey to the morphed image
Among several Twitter user’s who believed the morphed image, there was Journalist Rohini Singh of The Wire. A post referencing the fake headline was retweeted by her, however, she removed it once it was found to be incorrect.
Another Twitter user, a former soldier, called out Republic TV for the headline, which he said was a result of “politicisation of India’s armed forces”.
“Do we need enemies? This is what happens when politicisation of our armed forces is a reality which is yet to sink in. @Republic, Sikh regiment is probably the regiment with the highest number of gallantry awards, battle and theatre honours in the world. Shame on you traitors,” he tweeted. However, he later deleted the post apologising to Republic TV.
The fake image was carried by Karachi-based Pakistani news channel Abb Takk. Kashmir Today, a Facebook page, further shared that news flash.
Further, the morphed image was shared by a Facebook user with the caption “21 Sikh Regiment refused to fight against Pakistan. Commander of Regiment says that Pakistan is the Home of Guru Nanak. How can we fire a bullet on that land”.
Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami said he was “surprised that so-called journalists are spreading such Pakistan-sponsored propaganda, here in India.” Further, he asked how they got hold of these propaganda contents being circulated by the Pakistan Army.
The Logical Indian take
As citizens of the country, we have a certain responsibility. While trolls and parody accounts have taken the responsibility upon themselves to share as much false information as possible, it is our responsibility to differentiate between what is true and what isn’t, while making others aware about the issue too.
Creating or sharing fake news is never justified. We have a responsibility to verify everything that we post on the internet. To ensure that our national debate is healthy and well-informed, each and every one of us has a responsibility of treating what we read with a pinch of salt, a spoonful of doubt, and a flood of research.