No, Rajdeep Sardesai Was Not Assaulted During MP Election Coverage

A viral post suggesting Rajdeep Sardesai was assaulted during his MP election coverage is misleading.

Published21 Nov 2018, 09:57 AM IST
3 min read
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The menace of fake news takes different avatars on the social media. While on most occasions, such articles peddle fabricated facts or morphed images, there exist other forms of fake news which are equally capable of misleading the readers

The Quint came across one such article that has gone viral on social media.


The article in reckoning here is produced by a website, Dainik Bharat, which describes itself as an ‘anti-secular news portal’. On Tuesday, 20 November, the website put up an article with the title - ‘मध्यप्रदेश- लोगों को मोदी के खिलाफ भड़का रहा था राजदीप, फिर भीगे जूते से जनता ने पीटा’ , which translates to ‘Madhya Pradesh: People thrash Rajdeep for provoking them against Modi’.

The headline and the image used in the article suggest that senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai was assaulted by people in Madhya Pradesh during his election coverage in the poll-bound state.

The article was shared on Dainik Bharat’s Facebook page, where it received significant traction, attracting more than 3,000 reactions and more than 1,100 shares.

Screenshot of the Facebook post.&nbsp;
Screenshot of the Facebook post. 
Facebook Page Dainik Bharat

Some of the comments on the post suggest that Sardesai was actually beaten up.

Screenshot of comments on the Facebook post of Dainik Bharat.
Screenshot of comments on the Facebook post of Dainik Bharat.
(Photo courtesy: Facebook page of Dainik Bharat)
Screenshot of comments on the Facebook post of Dainik Bharat.
Screenshot of comments on the Facebook post of Dainik Bharat.
(Photo courtesy: Facebook page Dainik Bharat)


In one word, it’s false. The article exposes itself in its last line where it mentions that the ‘thrashing’ was ‘मानसिक तौर पर’, as in metaphorical.

The last line in the article reads: “ मध्यप्रदेश की जनता ने इसकी बातों में आने से साफ इनकार कर दिया, लोगों ने जूते भिगा भिगा के इसे मानसिक तौर पर मारे, जिसका ये वाकई हकदार है, इसके मंसूबों पर जनता ने पानी फेर दिया है”. (The people of Madhya Pradesh were not convinced by him and thrashed him metaphorically, which he deserves - translated).


Even if the misleading headline is given the concession of usage of colloquial lingo, there are other things that are wrong with the article.

To start with, the image used in the article is an old one. A reverse search on Google revealed that the image is from a article published in 2014. Back then, Sardesai got involved in a scuffle with a group of people while covering Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech at Madison Square in New York.

The incident, thus, has no relation with Sardesai’s coverage in Madhya Pradesh. Moreover. If the intention was to use a suitable picture for their article, Dainik Bharat missed out on basic journalistic practice of attributing the image to, and clarifying that the image has been used for representational purposes.

That’s not all.

The article carries a link to a video posted by the Twitter handle @Bhavesh72726027.

The video has been used in the article to substantiate its claim that traders in Madhya Pradesh are supporting Modi and the BJP and are not affected by GST and demonetisation. The video, as it turns out, has been edited to suit the article’s tone.

After the 40 second-mark in the video, Rajdeep asks a couple of businessmen if GST and demonetisation are poll issues, to which one of the traders says they are not and that the Modi factor will trump these issues.

The Quint looked for the original video posted by the verified YouTube channel of India Today. In the original video, a little after the 22-minute mark, the other trader in the video rebuts saying that people have resentment over the twin economic reforms and that he is having second thoughts despite being ‘BJP-minded’.

This part has been edited out in the video embedded in Dainik Bharat’s article.

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