New Delhi: Several Twitter users, including a prominent journalist and a politician, fell prey this week to a doctored image that purported to show news channel Republic TV running a headline that read: “21 Sikh regiment refused to fight for India.”
The original image carried a headline on news-channel TRPs, as is clear from the additional information visible on the ticker tape in the morphed photograph.
A few stylistic inconsistencies further establish the morphing: Banner headlines on Republic TV generally fill out the entire background, as can be seen in the original here, and news portals rarely, if ever, employ past tense in breaking headlines.
BARC India 1 mn+ (May 13-17) between 9 pm – 11 pm
Republic TV 61%
Times Now 24.7%
CNN News18 5.8%
India Today 4.1%
— Republic (@republic) May 25, 2017
Another red flag is the insignia of the Sikh Regiment seen in the background of the headline in the doctored image: This is simply not how news flashes appear.
Journalist Rohini Singh of The Wire was among the Twitter users who believed the morphed image, and retweeted a post referencing the fake headline. She undid the retweet after the morphed image was exposed as a fake on the social media site.
Congress politician Salman Nizami shared the image on Twitter as well, with the comment “Oh! Where is RSS?”
Another Twitter user, who appears to be a former soldier, sought to call out Republic TV for the headline, which he said was a result of the “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.
@MajChowdhury later deleted the tweet with an “unqualified apology” to Republic TV.
Even a Pakistani news channel, the Karachi-based Abb Takk, carried the fake image, with a Facebook page named ‘Kashmir Today’ sharing its news flash.
A Facebook user shared the morphed image with a caption that said “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”.
Talking to the news portal MyNation about the viral image, Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami said he was “surprised that so-called journalists are spreading such Pakistan-sponsored propaganda, here in India”.
“I want to know, how did they get hold of these propaganda contents that are being circulated by the Pakistan Army,” he added.
In collaboration with SM Hoaxslayer