The media in South Asia is often accused of creating fake news, but their techniques seldom come to light. A section of Indian media quite readily jumps on the â€˜fake news bandwagonâ€™ in their efforts to discredit opponents.
Referring to a particular case, the Pakistani daily Dawn, in a recent article has shown how Indian media is spreading false news items on the separatist movement in Jammu and Kashmir.
Indian media in early March exploded with â€˜breaking newsâ€™ involving the son of Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, currently placed under house arrest in Pakistan, and elusive Mumbai don Dawood Ibrahim, who, according to the news outlets, had become â€˜involvedâ€™ in fomenting unrest in Indian-administrated Kashmir.
It was alleged that Hafiz Saeedâ€™s son had incited a crowd gathered in an unidentified location in Pakistan on Kashmir Day to take up arms against India, urging them to â€œbe like Dawoodâ€.
Prominent Indian news media including Asia News International (ANI), Times of India (ToI), Zee News and DNA India – reported on 2 March and 3 March that a recently-surfaced video showed Talha Saeed addressing a freedom rally in Pakistan on Kashmir Day, 5 February, and inciting the crowd to wage war against India using fugitive Dawood Ibrahim as an inspiration.
The ToI reported: Talha is seen inciting a crowd to wage war against India using Dawood Ibrahim’s name.
Zee News wrote: Pakistan-based underworld don Dawood Ibrahim may join jihadi forces against India, JeM [Jaish-e-Mohammad] chief Hafiz Saeed’s son Talha has reportedly hinted during a recent speech.
DNA India claimed that Talha talked about a Dawood-linked jihad on India and was seen inciting a crowd to wage war against India using Dawood Ibrahim’s name.
ANI also reported on the concerns raised by two defence experts – Flying Officer Shivali Deshpande and security analyst Brigadier SK Chatterjee – who urged Indian security officials â€œto view Hafiz
Saeedâ€™s son’s speech last month with alarm.â€ The report went on to say that India’s intelligence agencies are now probing a possible link between Ibrahim and JuD. Videos uploaded by ToI and India Today with â€˜proofâ€™ of their claims show a man leading slogans at a rally, asking attendees if they want to become judges, policemen or doctors, to which the crowd’s reply is a resounding no. However, when the man asks them if they want to become like â€˜Burhanâ€™ and â€˜Dawoodâ€™, the crowd responds in the affirmative.
Both Hafiz Saeed and Dawood Ibrahim are internationally designated terrorists. Saeed is under house arrest and his activities and the organisations run by him are currently under scrutiny from Pakistani authorities.
However, though it has been claimed by Indian media that Ibrahim is hiding in Pakistan, that accusation has never been substantiated. In a reply submitted to the Indian parliament in May 2015, the Indian
Home Ministry itself had admitted that the government had no clue about the whereabouts of Ibrahim.
There are glaring discrepancies and factual inaccuracies in Indian media’s reportage on this ‘story’, and it is disturbing to see India-held Kashmir’s struggle for self-determination being twisted to suit state narratives.
Falsification 1: The video was shot on 5 February 2017
The original video of the event uploaded to YouTube five months ago. The uploader Tahir Mushtaq said the video was shot on 1 September 2016 – not on Kashmir Day, 5 Febryary 2017, as wrongly claimed by Indian media.
Falsification 2: The video was shot in Pakistan
The video’s uploader confirmed to Dawn.com that he had filmed the video at a freedom rally in Kulgam, which is located deep in India-held Kashmir.
Falsification 3: Hafiz Saeed’s son is leading the sloganeering
The original video shows the man who later leads the rally in sloganeering against India. But it is difficult to draw similarities with Talha Saeed, who has a beard and a heavier frame. Furthermore, there is a difference in speech patterns of the man raising slogans and Talha Saeed.
After initially carrying the story, India Today and Times Now have since removed it from their websites.