TOI Falsely Uses Image of Couple in an Unrelated ‘Murder’ Case

Shilpi Agarwal said that they were alerted when their relatives came across the news and called them “in panic”.

Published24 Jun 2020, 08:46 AM IST
2 min read

“Many believed that we were actually dead and started sending condolences,” food blogger Shilpi Agarwal told The Quint after The Times of India used her image and that of her husband Amit Agarwal for a completely unrelated story.

The Times of India on Tuesday, 23 June, used the image of the couple for a story on another Amit Agarwal allegedly killing his estranged wife Shipli Agarwal in Bengaluru and then flying back to Kolkata where “he shot dead his mother-in-law and then killed himself at an upscale residential complex in Phoolbagan on Monday evening.”

The organisation later issued a clarification and updated its online article mentioning “We had inadvertently uploaded a wrong photo in this story. We sincerely apologise for this error.” The news outlet issued a clarification in Wednesday’s print version as well.

Couple Clarifies on Facebook

The couple, living in Bengaluru currently, took to their Facebook account ‘Food and Flavours’ on Tuesday and posted a video in which they can be heard pointing out the usage of incorrect image in the TOI story.

“We just want to let you know that we are fine. We are happy and alive. Just want to thank all the people who are concerned and at the same time, and please help us in not to spread this fake news,” Amit says in the video.
TOI has used our photo for an unrelated news without any verification. This is what the journalism has come down to.

This is what the journalism has come down to in India. Whatever small amount of trust I had on TOI and on Indian journalism has just gone down the drain. We (Amit Agarwal & Shilpi Agarwal) are doing totally fine and this incident is nowhere related to us. This has really shocked our family and friends and caused a chaos this morning for us. TOI, please fix this asap with a correction and formal apology. Once again, we are fine and thanks to all the loved ones who are concerned about us. We are happy and together like never before :) #incorrectnews #timesofindia #fakenews #TOI Newslink:

Posted by Foods And Flavors on Monday, June 22, 2020

In conversation with The Quint, Shilpi alleged that TOI was not the only organisation who used their image, News18, too, made the some error in one of their bulletins.
However, the bulletin in question is not available online anymore.

‘Amit Was Assumed A Culprit’

Speaking to The Quint, Shilpi Agarwal said that the couple was alerted about the TOI story when their friends and family members came across the news piece and called them “in panic” to validate with them.

“Amit was assumed a culprit. We had to rush to send the video to everyone. Yet some of the images are out there and many may still believe that we were the ones involved in the incident.”
Shilpi Agarwal, food blogger

Regarding the impact it had on the family, she said, “Our family and friends were in shock and had an initial trauma of seeing us in such a news article.”

‘Apology Not Sufficient For the Damage Done’

On the apology issued by the news outlet, Shilpi said that it is not sufficient.

“They have apologised about it but this is not sufficient for the damage done and potential risk of trauma they had put our family in,” she said.

Further, Shilpi has a message for media organisations using public images:

“I would like to raise this concern firmly about how a media house uses public images without caring about its validity and impact. They must realise that such mistakes are not simple and may have caused much severe impact, had we not attended it on time.”

Twitter Outrage

Several Twitter users criticised the organisation for using an incorrect image of the couple in an unrelated story.

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