The Fake News Factory remains embarrassing
A Chinese journalist shared a collage of tweets from BJP leaders and ministers who passed the picture of Beijing airport as Noida’s.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for Noida International Airport near Jewar in the Gautam Buddh Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh on Thursday. When it opens, it will be UP’s fifth international airport – the largest of any state.
It will stretch over 1,300 acres and work on the first (of four) phases is expected to be completed by 2024 – when the Lok Sabha election is held. The estimated cost is Rs 10,500 crore.
The inauguration also comes at a time when the northern state is due for parliamentary elections in a few months.
The inauguration sparked a flurry of promotional mail from BJP leaders and officials praising the great project. However, it turned out that many prominent Saffron Party leaders, including ministers, tweeted fake pictures of the airport.
Several BJP leaders and ministers were called by a media representative from China’s state-run Global Television Network (CGTN) for distributing images of Beijing Daxing International Airport as a model for the upcoming Jewar Airport in Noida.
That comes days after leaders of the Indian ruling party were also called upon to post pictures of South Korean Incheon International Airport as a model for Jewar Airport.
CGTN employee Shen Shiwei tweeted a collage of senior BJP leaders and tweets from union ministers about Noida International Airport on Friday night. “Errr…. shocked to know Indian government officials had to use photos of Beijing Daxing International Airport as evidence of their ‘infrastructure performance’, ”Shiwei tweeted.
Uh …. Terrified to know Indian government officials had to use photos of Beijing Daxing International Airport as evidence of their “infrastructure accomplishments”. ️🤦♂️🤦♂️ pic.twitter.com/bfz7M4b8Vy
– Shen Shiwei 沈 诗 伟 (@shen_shiwei) November 26, 2021
This is not the first incident where BJP leaders have shared fake or compromised media. There have been several cases in the past where the saffron party leaders were caught telling lies or manipulating facts.
Bengali flyover in UP
In September this year, the Uttar Pradesh government faced backlash on social media for using a photo of a Calcutta flyover in one of its advertisements.
The advertisement published on the Indian Express entitled “Transforming Uttar Pradesh under Adityanath” showed Prime Minister Adityanath over a collage of the state’s infrastructure projects.
This is an advertisement from the UP government released today.
The flyover image (including the skyscrapers) on the ad is actually from Kolkata, West Bengal. This 4.5 km flyover in Kolkata is called the Parama Island Flyover and is popularly known as the Maa Flyover. pic.twitter.com/yQMmogHRaP
– SUBHRANSU PANDA (uthorAuthorSubhransu) September 12, 2021
Twitter users quickly pointed out that the overpass shown in the ad was actually in the capital of West Bengal. In the picture, they also spotted one of Kolkata’s iconic yellow taxis on the street.
Shortly thereafter, The Indian Express tweeted that the ad was being produced by the newspaper’s own marketing department and apologized for the “accidental” use of a “wrong image.”
Sambit Patra, the usual suspect
The BJP spokesperson is notorious for making unconfirmed claims and social media posts.
Four days ago, a Delhi court ordered police to register an FIR against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sambit Patra for allegedly posting a rigged video of Delhi’s Prime Minister Arvind Kejriwal supporting the farm laws, and said this may have led to riotous situation across the country.
In May of this year, Twitter marked a tweet by national BJP spokesman Sambit Patra alleging that Congress had used a “toolkit” as manipulated media.
The May 18 tweet included images of a document that Mr. Patra said lists social media measures Congress used to damage the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Twitter’s guidelines, content may be marked as “compromised media” or, in some cases, removed if the company has reason to believe that media or the context in which media is presented has been “altered or tampered with in a material and misleading manner.” . .
Elections in Bengal and consequences
During the parliamentary elections in West Bengal, despite the Saffron Party leaders boasting massive participation on social media, supporters of the left-wing parties claimed that the former had circulated fake pictures of the rally. It was alleged that the BJP tried to pass photos of a 2019 Left Front rally – held in the same location – as their own. The picture was shared by official contacts from BJP Tamil Nadu, BJP Punjab and BJP members Tajinder Bagga, SG Suryah, Bhanu Jalan and CA OP Mishra.
Even during the post-election violence in East state, after the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC swept the elections, rival BJP attempted to fuel the ongoing violence. According to The Wire’s report, several BJP leaders and officials were involved in sharing non-Bengal pictures and videos or tampered with to create violent reactions.
It was so much that the BJP had to delete a video from its official Facebook page after a journalist pointed out that he had been falsely identified as someone killed in the post-election violence in the state. Abhro Banerjee tweeted a screenshot of the video identifying him as “Manik Moitro” by Sitalkuchi. He also posted a link to the alleged video.
“I’m Abhro Banerjee, lively and healthy and warm and around 1,300 km from Sitalkuchi,” tweeted the journalist. “BJP IT Cell now claims I am Manik Moitra [spelt ‘Moitro’ in the video] and died in Sitalkuchi. Please do not believe these fake posts and do not worry. I repeat: I am (still) alive. “
These are some recent examples when the BJP and its leaders were caught red-handed distributing fake images and media. However, there have been countless cases of their leaders and social media cells peddling false and fake media since the party’s rise to power.
Be it the BJP Chattisgarh using imagery from Gujarat and abroad to show improved highways under their rule, or the BJP leaders painting an 8-year-old picture of a US tunnel as the Atal Tunnel, made by PM Modi was inaugurated. Union Minister Piyush Goyal also joined the party when he shared an accelerated video of the Vande Bharat Express to claim the success of Narendra Modi’s Make in India manufacturing campaign.
This India Today report, published long before the aforementioned atrocities by BJP leaders, tells how the Hindu nationalist party has used fake media and news to its advantage since it came to power.
BJP & misinformation
In the age of the internet and the fast paced world, it is natural for users to make mistakes and post or share things that have not been verified. However, it should be inevitable for everyone to apologize for sharing such content once it has been pointed out to be falsehood. However, the BJP leaders do not indulge in this practice. In fact, almost none of the BJP leaders or followers mentioned above have publicly apologized for sharing false content.
The question that arises here is whether the party and its leadership consciously engage in such a practice? If so, it won’t help our country’s image internationally after the Chinese journalist uncovered the fake tweet.
It is necessary for Mr. Modi and the Department of I&B to ensure that individuals in government positions do not share false information. It is necessary that the Prime Minister see to it that in the future no such embarrassment for the country is caused by the careless tweeting of Modi’s party and leaders.