On NDTV, what you see is not always what you get.
Yesterday, NDTV carried a report titled “Drones Monitoring Situation In Violence-Hit Delhi Areas”, which talked about how Delhi Police had deployed drones that were helping check the escalation of tensions. The lead image of the article was a shot from a drone showing the roofs of a few houses, and police officers clustered around them. But there was something interesting about the image that NDTV shared.
NDTV’s caption for the picture said that the image was a screengrab taken from a video tweeted by ANI. But when one compares the video shared by ANI to the image shared by NDTV, there’s a crucial detail that NDTV chose to crop out — a mosque with what looks like stones stored on its roof.
On the image on the left, which is taken from the video shared by ANI, a mosque with a a green minaret is visible on the bottom right corner. On the roof of the mosque, what appears to be a pile of stones is visible. But on the photo shared by NDTV, the mosque has been cropped out, leaving the rest of the scene as is.
It’s hard to tell why NDTV would choose to crop the picture in a manner which would remove a mosque with stones stored on its roof, but this isn’t the first time that NDTV has been creative about the way it has edited images. When the video of the police entering the Jamia library had gone viral, NDTV had cropped out a student with a face mask on from the footage. The masked student had been evidence that rioters who had pelted stones at the police while wearing masks were taking refuge in the library, but by cropping out the masked student, NDTV had sought to remove all trace of his existence.
NDTV’s other reporting on the Delhi riots has also come under the scanner. When a man named Rambhat Gopal had fired a single shot at an anti-CAA rally, NDTV has tweeted his name out four times. But as of 27th February, NDTV didn’t have a single tweet mentioning Shahrukh, the man who’d shot 8 rounds during the Delhi riots, and also faced off against a police officer.
But while NDTV is free to choose which subjects it reports on — its biases are apparent to most of the country at this point — cropping out a picture to remove what seems to be material evidence might be a bridge too far. Selectively cropping a picture while sharing it on your platform, while the real picture is freely available, would appear to be nothing short of an attempt into misleading the citizens of India.