Fact Check: The News Stories That Were Widely Shared Recently But Were Not True

In a social media-driven generation, most of us at some point have shared fake or half-true news on our timelines. Sitting before our desktops or scrolling down our mobile phones, we accept any news that is thrown at us without question, especially when it is shared by relatively credible media houses or public personalities. We have an expectation that what we read is true.

However, not all that we read is true. Too many news stories these days are fake, half-true, planted or outdated.

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 fake/false news, mainstream media misreporting, and public personalities spreading misinformation in the last two weeks.

1) Home Ministry uses image of Spain-Morocco border to show floodlighting on Indian border

The Ministry of Home Affairs, in its annual report, used a foreign border to claim that it had installed floodlights in border areas. The Ministry used an image of the Spain-Morocco border too depict India’s border.

Following the exposure by Alt News and criticism on social media (which was embarrassingly picked up by the international press), the Ministry has ordered an inquiry into the humiliating lapse.

The Home Ministry depicted the Spain-Morocco border as an Indian border. MHA Annual Report, Page 40.MHA

2) Sambit Patra shares a false tweet to accuse NDTV of an “agenda”

BJP Spokesperson Sambit Patra tweeted an article by The Times of Islamabad which said that “data by NDTV” showed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make In India initiative was a “flop show”.

Jumping on The Times of Islamabad’s tweet, Patra quoted the same by saying “Agenda”, a reference to his appearance on NDTV earlier this month where he was asked to leave the panel discussion after accusing the channel of having an “agenda”.

In reality, however, the Pakistani news portal had incorrectly sourced NDTV when its actual source was an article by former Finance Minister P Chidambaram in The Indian Express.

Patra is yet to delete his tweet or issue clarifications on the same.

3) No, Australian cricketer Brett Lee and his wife did not convert to Hinduism

Australian cricketer Brett Lee was recently in Mumbai to promote music therapy in a venture with St Jude’s Childcare Centre.

He was photographed with his wife, wearing garlands, and certain pages online portrayed the couple as having embraced Hinduism. A post by a fake BJP page claiming that the couple had converted to Hinduism garnered over 25,000 likes and nearly 2,000 shares.

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ब्रेट ली और लाना एंडरसन हमने सनातन धर्म अपनाया है क्या आप हमारा हिन्दू धर्म मे स्वागत करेंगे ..??

Posted by BJP INDIA on Tuesday, June 13, 2017

4) Nirmala Sitharaman retweets an image depicting AR Rahman saying something he never said

Sitharaman retweeted a widely shared image depicting AR Rahman welcoming the “initiatives taken by the central government to curb cow slaughter”.

Rahman never said those words.

To her credit, Sitharaman undid her retweet and stated that “this seems unverified information”.

5) Allegations that Aligarh Muslim University was not providing food to non-Muslim students during Ramadan proved false

After a tweet by Prashant Patel Umrao, a Delhi High Court advocate, was shared widely, a rumour spread that the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) was not serving food to Hindus during the month of Ramadan. This sparked a divisive debate online.

However, after The Quint approached AMU authorities, it was revealed that the information was false. The University provides food to both non-Muslims and non-fasting Muslims during Ramadan – as it had been for decades.

6) Photo of Col DK Rai, who passed away in March, used to politicise last week’s Gorkhaland protests

The protest for a separate state, Gorkhaland, has been going on in Darjeeling for the past one week. The protesters have pelted stones and bricks at the security forces who resorted to lathi charge in some areas. This is the first time in the last three decades that the Gorkhaland protesters faced retaliation from the state government.

Amidst this unrest, Delhi HC advocate Prashant Patel Umrao (the same man who spread the above-explained fake news over AMU not providing food to non-Muslims) shared a 2008 image of Col DK Rai of the Gorkha Rifles being attacked by the police.

Umrao claimed that this was an image of Col Rai being lathi-charged during the ongoing protests. However, Col Rai passed away three months ago.

Umrao used a 2008 image to score political points from the ongoing unrest in Darjeeling.https://www.thequint.com/news/2017/06/15/gorkhaland-protest-dk-rai

The Logical Indian take

This week, we had politicians and political spokespersons spreading false stories and propaganda. These instances included a case where an individual exploited the image of a late soldier to score political points. A major embarrassment when an official government report depicted a foreign border as our own. Another takeaway is how we can respond when we are rightly called out for sharing fake news: While Nirmala Sitharaman deleted her retweet of the fake AR Rahman quote and issued a clarification on the same, Sambit Patra is yet to delete his misinformed tweet, let alone issue a clarification.

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.


The post Fact Check: The News Stories That Were Widely Shared Recently But Were Not True appeared first on The Logical Indian.

Source: thelogicalindian.com

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