The sole means of livelihood for any print media is news. And when it comes to news, anything that makes a big hype, anything that creates a huge opinion is breaking the news. The first one to post this will have the biggest advantage. So this makes the hunt for “Breaking news” a rat race. At times a race in which people don’t bother to check the authenticity of the information in hand before publishing it. Something like this happened in this context too. In almost last 2 years, if you ask a media person about the source of breaking news, at least, 70% people will point on to the Modi Government. Every move of the government is noted, and every decision is highlighted, often in a way to generate criticism and create some news.
An article popped up today in the Milli Gazette, which read, “We don’t recruit Muslims”: Modi govt’s Ayush Ministry” By Pushp Sharma, The Milli Gazette.
As per government policy, no Muslim selected: Modi Sarkar https://t.co/DzEYWJ4NRB pic.twitter.com/zCODO8mE63
— Teesta Setalvad (@TeestaSetalvad) March 12, 2016
The writer of the article Pushp Sharma, whom the website calls, a well-known investigative journalist had apparently filed an RTI application seeking if the government had appointed any Muslim yoga teachers. The article quoted a reply, stating it was from the government, saying a total of 711 Muslim yoga trainers had applied for the short-term assignment abroad but none was even called for an interview while 26 trainers (all Hindus) were sent abroad on this assignment. A total of 3841 Muslim candidates applied till October 2015 for the post of Yoga trainer/teacher with the Ministry but none was selected. This article, as usual, started making rounds on the internet with a number of websites picking this up to hit on the Modi government all over again.
Highly polarised Twitter, as usual, went gaga over this issue. But Twitter users like Rupa Subramanya, Hindol Sengupta started to question the authenticity of the RTI.
A fraud AYUSH RTI is going around claiming no Muslims in AYUSH. False. See website – https://t.co/UrnVJL72Tl Names 6, 19 and 32. Stop lying.
— HindolSengupta (@HindolSengupta) March 12, 2016
But what turned out later was an anti-climax that these websites didn’t expect. The Ayush through the Press Information Bureau, Government Of India issued a clarification(Read Here) regarding the same, it strongly quoted that the above-mentioned information about the religious bias of the government was Fabricated by individuals who wanted to propagate this mischievous misinformation.
The statement from the ministry also stated that the Ministry strongly condemns this piece of misreporting, clearly aimed at causing a chasm between different sections of Society and promoting disharmony and mistrust with ulterior motives. In addition to these the author of these RTI (if genuine) Sri Pushp Sharma, is found to have a number of similar incidents before with him being arrested by the Delhi police for his involvement in an extortion case using fake sting operations.
Here are the actual documents sent by the ministry,
The actual replies sent to the petitioner by Ministry are as followed pic.twitter.com/RRQmneazSk
— Ministry of AYUSH (@moayush) March 12, 2016
At least now the media has to learn to check the authenticity of the information before broadcasting it since issues like this can easily create hatred and communal tension in the society. It is time to name and shame the media who helped in spreading the fake RTI. This was started by The Milli Gazette, Scroll.in, The Wire, Sidharth Varadarajan, Teesta Setalvad, Rifwat, Shehzad Poonawalla the list goes long. It is a survival game to get breaking news, but in the meantime, it is our responsibility to publish authentic and real news.
The below tweet of Rupa Subramanya pretty much sums up the day today.
Today like most days Indian journos whipped up hysteria on alleged anti-Muslim bias of GoI; proved to be bogus/manufactured. #Pressittutes
— Rupa Subramanya (@rupasubramanya) March 12, 2016