A photograph of Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, went viral on social media claiming that he was serving food to Indian athletes who were currently in Jakarta for the Asian Games.
Rathore can be seen holding a tray and interacting with players in the picture. Since the tray has multiple bowls on it, viewers fell easily for the story and started sharing it promptly.
Facebook and Twitter page of ‘The Frustrated Indian’ [which has more than 1 million followers on Facebook] posted this image with a misleading caption on it
the dude holding the tray is our sports minister.
The post went viral instantly to a tune of nearly 6000 shares. Further, the same social media page also posted another article, which read,
a minister serving food to the players would have been unthinkable 5 years ago.
This article too received 1500 shares. Postcard News founder, Mahesh Hegde subsequently shared the same which had a rippled effect of another 900 shares. Postcard News is notorious for posting Fake News and the page was also pulled down by Facebook a while ago.
Amongst the political fraternity, the post was shared by, BJP Telangana State President and MLA Dr. K. Laxman, BJP Karnataka MLA Raghupati Bhatt and AAP Delhi MLA Kapil Mishra. Mishra who has been in the news only for his on and off political drama in the recent past, received 7700 retweets for sharing the same.
Another Facebook page India First also circulated the picture as part of a collage, terming it “new India”. This post had 12,000 shares at the time of writing this article. Such viral content did not stop being forwarded and re published by several other Mainstream Media, without anyone rechecking the facts of the story. Among others, NDTV, DNA, India TV, Republic World and DNA also carried the same article, leaving a huge question mark on traditional journalism, which demands ‘source’ and ‘verification of the source’.
Republic TV’s Major Gaurav Arya, Pallavi Ghosh of News18, India Today’s Rajdeep Sardesai and others also tweeted about the same. However, on learning the truth, Sardesai later deleted his tweet.
— pallavi ghosh (@_pallavighosh) August 28, 2018
The Actual Version
The viral image in question was initially shared from the official Twitter handle of Sports Authority of India (SAI) on 26th August, along with several other pictures of the Sports Minister with athletes and officials at the Asian Games Village in Jakarta. However, there was No Mention whatsoever, claiming that the players were being served by the sports minister.
— SAIMedia (@Media_SAI) August 26, 2018
The Sports Minister himself too, never claimed any credit by explaining this gesture. Although there were multiple other images posted by SAI, the image with Rathore holding the tray, carrying his own food went viral in isolation.
As reported by Alt News, a person present at the scene had been contacted, who categorically emphasised that the picture is true, however, there was no truth whatsoever that the minister was serving food, snacks or tea. He further confirmed, that Rathore was indeed around but only greeting the players he met on his way to the table.
Hahahaha. Those are paper bowls for food. And i think he stopped over to speak to athletes before heading to food counters 😂😂😂
— Vinayak Padmadeo (@Padmadeo) August 28, 2018
This is a classic example of how social media peddles Fake News. Some of it can be deliberate, while some fall prey to the number of shares, likes and comments. It gets even worse when Main stream media circulates the same without fact checking.