From the Viewsroom

What’s the media doing?

Preeti Mehra | Updated on April 25, 2019 Published on April 25, 2019

Unlike before, there’s deliberate attempt to twist and distort news

One of the casualties of Elections 2019 has been media credibility. With the number of reliable publications, TV channels and news websites dwindling by the day, readers and viewers have had to resort to fact-checking to separate truth from half-lies. Unlike in the past, when misinformation was sometimes disseminated by mistake or oversight, what we are witnessing now is a deliberate and systematic attempt to twist and distort news. The number of stories on the Pulwama terrorist attack and India’s subsequent air strike on a militant camp across the LoC which have proved to be inaccurate are far too many. Suffice to say, even if suspect information was being provided by “government sources” it was the duty of the media to cross-check the claims. But unfortunately, they did not because they were only too willing to buy the government line. Why, even the photograph of Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the mastermind behind the Pulwama attack — published by reputed newspapers and TV channels — was later discovered to be a photoshopped image of rock singer Bon Jovi! Surprisingly, no one in the media admitted the mistake or questioned the source which provided them the photograph.

On April 23 a mainstream English TV channel flashed ‘Breaking News’ that the Prime Minister would be holding a press conference on April 26. It was later dismissed as “110 per cent fake” by a senior BJP leader who was contacted by newspapers. Among the misinformation emanating from the fake news factory that went viral on social media during this election season these examples stand out: Rahul Gandhi admitting to the Supreme Court that he had lied about the Rafale deal; Narendra Modi using a four letter word at a public meeting; Mamata Banerjee throwing in the towel and urging people to vote BJP at a rally; and Sonia Gandhi evaluated richer than the Queen of England.

With so much disinformation in the air, seeing or reading about something no longer means believing. A very discomforting thought for those inclined to trust the media. Thank god there are a few newspapers, TV channels and websites keeping their faith alive.

Published on April 25, 2019
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