Last week, Navjot Singh Sidhu had visited Pakistan for the ground-breaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor. This was his second trip across the border since he attended cricket legend Imran Khan’s oath-taking as Pakistani prime minister.
Since then the right wing trolls have been trying to accuse Sidhu of being a traitor, largely because he happened to visit Pakistan. One must not forget that Union ministers from India, Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri, too accompanied Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu for the said event in Pakistan Punjab province’s Narowal area.
A few hours earlier in the day today, Zee News, which has 4.15 million followers on twitter, more than 10 million followers on Facebook besides their regular tele viewers, shared a doctored video of Sidhu addressing a rally Rajasthan.
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The video broadcasted claimed that Pakistan Zindabad (hail Pakistan) slogans were chanted during Sidhu’s speech during the rally. A sensational headline was put out on Zee News Website along with a narration that read:
“Shocking : Pak Supporters shout ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ in Navjot Singh Sidhu Rally.”
The video was also run on this channel where the anchors in the most melodramatic way were not just expressing shock, but also trying to instigate the feelings of anger and outrage amongst their viewers.
However, the Congress did not give this a pass and decided to act firmly on this misleading and fabricated video which would impact the upcoming Assembly elections in different states.
Taking the lead, Communications In-charge for the Congress, Randeep Singh Surjewala immediately tweeted, how the biased media was resorting to dirty tricks of the BJP. He called Republic TV and Times Now as pioneers of ‘Fake News Factory’, while accusing Zee News of tweeting an absolutely doctored video. He quoted:
“Bhakt Channels have taken over prime positions in the Dirty Tricks Department of the BJP. First ’Fake News Factory’ of @republic & @timesnow spread Falsehood,now @ZeeNews has tweeted an absolutely doctored video of @sherryontopp! Sharing with you Original Video- Sat Sri Akal!”
Surjewala also attached the original video along with his tweet for putting the matter to rest.
Bhakt Channels have taken over prime positions in the Dirty Tricks Department of the BJP.
Sharing with you Original Video-
Sat Sri Akal! pic.twitter.com/f8BLNNHrZv
— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) December 3, 2018
Rajasthan Media-in-charge and National Publicity Cell In-Charge for the Congress, Pawan Khera, too reacted sharply mocking the prejudiced media for peddling fake news. He also questioned the extent to which they would fall by spreading such false stories.
भक्त चेनेलों शर्म करो। इतना झूठ बोल कर कहाँ तक गिरोगे। https://t.co/ojzdN3XvYx
— Pawan Khera (@Pawankhera) December 3, 2018
Political Analyst, Gaurav Pandhi, shared a clubbed video, which clearly showed the fake video put out by Zee News Vs the original video where Sidhu was making his speech.
He distinctly pointed out that the audio of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ had been inserted into Sidhu’s Alwar Rally video, while one could only hear “Jo Bole So Nihal” in the original video.
Shame on @ZeeNews for showing doctored video of @sherryontopp Navjot Singh Sidhu's rally. They cleverly inserted an audio of 'Pakistan Zindabad' into his Alwar rally vid, while on the original vid there is no such thing and you can clearly hear people chanting "Jo Bole So Nihal' pic.twitter.com/Gq8xagoLYe
— Gaurav Pandhi (@GauravPandhi) December 3, 2018
It is a disgustingly doctored video.
The original Video is here.
Bhakt Channels = Dirty Tricks Department of Modi + Amit Shah ! pic.twitter.com/UPaI0o1Gec
— रचित सेठ (@rachitseth) December 3, 2018
Shame on @ZeeNews for spreading #FakeNews. Here's the original video. Slogans are of "Sat Sri Akaal" and NOT "Pakistan Zindabad" as shown by the channel in a doctored video of @sherryontopp 's rally. #RajasthanElections2018 pic.twitter.com/f81DQT3NbD
— Ruchira Chaturvedi (@RuchiraC) December 3, 2018
Last week, Times Now and Republic TV completely changed the narrative of Congress’ Manifesto released in Telangana.
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Zee News has also been accused of doctoring the infamous ‘Tukde Tukde Gang’ video in 2016, where the channel had alleged JNU students for chanting anti-India slogans.
A detailed report had been put out by The Print giving details of how there was absolutely no truth in the story run by Zee News then. An excerpt from the report read as below:
Fake news operation
The Delhi Police and some news TV cameras were present in advance, as the ABVP had decided to make an issue out of it. It wasn’t eyewitness accounts but videos that became proof of what had happened. The videos, that later turned out to be doctored, showed Khalid and JNU Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and others chant anti-India slogans demanding azadi for Kashmir and promising to break India into pieces.
Khalid and Kumar were arrested, but curiously, the Delhi Police, ABVP and news channels including Times Now, then led by Goswami, never asked about those Kashmiri students. The Kashmiri students were asked to lie low, because arresting them could have raised tensions in Kashmir. This would have adversely affected the BJP-PDP alliance in Jammu and Kashmir.
The “JNU nationalism row”, as it came to be known, was an out-and-out fake news operation with the joint collaboration of ABVP, news channels like Zee News and the Delhi Police, which picked up people on the basis of doctored videos.
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The incident helped paint JNU in particular and left-liberals in general as anti-national. In the history of fake news in India, ‘Tukde Tukde Gang’ is the ultimate fake news.
All of this came out back then — Kanhaiya Kumar returned to JNU from jail to a hero’s welcome. The police has found no evidence against him. But two years later, Arnab Goswami has revived the fake controversy with ‘Tukde Tukde Gang’. That is the power of catchphrases and hashtags.