At the moment, India is battling coronavirus on on front, and fake news on the other.
An FIR has been filed against Siddharth Varadarajan, the founding Editor of The Wire, for falsely attributing a quote to Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath. In an article published on 31st March, The Wire had claimed that CM Yogi had said the Ayodhya Fair should go ahead, because ‘Lord Ram would protect devotees from the coronavirus”. An FIR has now been filed against The Wire’s editor for spreading misinformation and panic during the coronavirus lockdown by one Nitish Kumar Srivastava from Uttar Pradesh.
FIR registered against online portal ‘The Wire’ for allegedly disseminating fake news. pic.twitter.com/yfE6Ftx5qT
— ANI (@ANI) April 1, 2020
The error had been pointed out by The Daily Switch as long as two weeks ago, when The Wire had carried a misleading headline to imply that CM Yogi Adityanath had claimed that the event go ahead because Lord Ram would protect the devotees. “Ram Will Ensure no Harm Comes’: Adityanath Govt Okays Mega Fair in Time of Coronavirus,” was the title of the article The Wire had published on 18th March. But the article itself said that the quote was from one Acharya Paramhans, a saint from Ayodhya.
The mistake has now been corrected in The Wire’s latest article. “Note: In an earlier version of the story, the quote about Ram saving devotees from the coronavirus was wrongly attributed to Yogi Adityanath. It was in fact said by Acharya Paramhans, head of the Ram temple trust,” says an update at the bottom of The Wire’s article. Interestingly, the headline in the article from 18th March continues to wrongly attribute the quote to CM Yogi.
Even though the Wire has updated its latest article, its article from 18th March, as well as the current article, stayed up long enough to give people the impression that CM Yogi was ignoring science while giving the go-ahead for the Ayodhya Fair. It’s a part of the narrative that The Wire often carries to vilify those who wear saffron, while relentlessly defending those of a particular community. With an FIR filed against the portal for spreading fake news, The Wire will finally have to answer to India’s legal system for carrying out what many see as propaganda.