WebQoof Recap: Fabricated NYT Front Page, Rakesh Tikait 'Threatening' Media
From misinformation around Amarinder Singh's Twitter account to false claims about only temples paying taxes.
From a fabricated screenshot claiming that The New York Times touted the PM Modi as the "Last, Best Hope of Earth" to an out-of-context video of farmer leader Rakesh Tikait shared to claim that he "threatened" the media, here's what misled the public this week.
1. Photoshopped Image of NYT Front Page Praising PM Modi Goes Viral
After the conclusion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 3-day US visit, a screenshot of a purported NYT article was shared by many social media users with a claim that the publication had put PM Modi on its cover page with a headline that read, "Last, Best Hope of Earth".
However, we found that the viral image is a fabricated one and NYT didn’t feature PM Modi on its Sunday front pages. In fact, the front page of the publication on 26 September didn't have any story on PM Modi.
The New York Times, too, clarified that the image is a "fabricated" one.
2. Amarinder Singh Didn’t ‘Drop’ Congress From Twitter Bio, He Never Had it
Former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday, 30 September, stated that he will quit Congress, but would not join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Soon after that several media outlets reported that Singh had 'dropped Congress' from his Twitter bio.
However, upon checking the online archives of former Punjab CM's Twitter handle, we found that he didn't mention 'Congress' in his Twitter bio. While serving as the CM of Punjab, his Twitter bio read: 'Chief Minister of Punjab and a Military historian'.
Raveen Thukral, media adviser to Captain Amarinder Singh denied the reports of the former Punjab CM 'dropping Congress from his Twitter bio.'
3. Do Only Temples Have to Pay Taxes in India? No, Claim is False
A message, going viral this week, stated that 'only Hindu temples have to pay taxes while other religions enjoy freedom'.
We found that the claim, which has been shared before, was false. Taxation in India is not done on the basis of religion. The Ministry of Finance, too, had clarified the same in a press release in 2017.
"There are some messages going around in the social media stating that the temple trusts have to pay the GST while the churches and mosques are exempt. This is completely untrue because no distinction is made in the GST law on any provision based on religion," the MOF press release said.
4. Edited Pic of Subhash Chandra Bose Shared To Push Theory of His Survival
An edited photograph of late Indian nationalist leader Subhash Chandra Bose reading a newspaper was shared with a false claim that he can be seen reading the story of his demise.
The claim follows an oft-repeated theory that Bose survived the plane crash and that the news of his death was spread by the Congress under the British rule.
However, we found that the image was morphed and the original image shows Bose reading a story about Japanese General Hideki Tojo in Nippon Times.
5. News Reports on Rakesh Tikait's 'Media is Next Target' Remark Lack Context
A video of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait was aired by several news organisations and shared by several journalists and social media users with a claim stating that he "threatened" the media and asked them to join the protest.
However, we found that Tikait's statement is being taken out of context and he was referring to the government when he said that "media is the next target".
6. Video of Boys Talking About Conversion in Aligarh Shared With a Communal Spin
The video from Aligarh of two boys talking about Hindus, Muslims and Islam was shared by several social media users, including journalists working for Sudardhan News, with a misleading claim. They stated that one of the boys, who claimed to be a Muslim in the video, was promoting Islam and encouraging religious conversion.
However, we found that both the boys in the video belonged to the Hindu community. Circle officer Raghvendra Kumar told The Quint that both the people in the viral video were minors and belonged to the same religion.
We also found a report in The Times of India that included a quote from the uncle of one of the boys, who is a BJP member from Hathras. He told the publication that the boys were having a "friendly debate" and "didn't mean any harm".
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