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How Delhi paper ‘Sahafat’ fell for fake images of violence in Burma

August 22, 2012

Yousuf Saeed wrote in Kafila on 13 August how fake images of violence against Muslim Rohingyas in Burma – images that were in fact, of, say, earthquake victims. In his post he mentioned how even some Urdu papers in India were fooled by the images,which provoked violent protests in Mumbai,and recently, Lucknow.

Now, CM Naim describes in detail how Sahafat, an Urdu newspaper published from Delhi, fell for these fake images. Naim translates large parts of two charged-up articles in Sahafat, one of which calls for the boycott of Buddhists in Delhi. One article was published on 10 August and one on 16 August. As Naim says, it’s time for the Press Council of India to take note. One excerpt:

“What fight did the children start? What guns did the women fire? What sticks did the old and the decrepit use to strike? But look at the sheer shamelessness of the Buddhists. They first herded together all the people of the locality—male and female, old and young—then threatened and abused them. Cast aspersions on Islam. Created an air of terror. And then, after slashing their victims threw them alive into fire to burn to ashes.” [Read the full article.]

Rohingyas did indeed face violence in Burma recently, but the events mentioned above never happened. While the fake images did spread through Facebook, I thought traditional newspapers with editors had checks and balances, published information after verification and so on? Why aren’t news channels calling over the editor of Sahafat instead of furthering the government’s agea of increasing internet censorship in India. Naim’s answer to that: “Because this sort of thing has been going on in much of the Urdu press in Delhi and Hyderabad for a long time, and has always been ignored by the Anglophone media and its participants and patrons. They alone matter in their own eyes.”

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Shama Zaidi permalink
    August 22, 2012 10:56 AM

    the same mainstream indian urdu press which denounced muslim bengalis of bangladesh for wanting to break away from pakistan and condoned the whole-scale massacres of bengali speaking muslims, is now crying crocodile tears because bengali-speakng muslims are being killed by non-muslims!

    • savitri chamar permalink
      September 28, 2012 9:26 PM

      one wrong cannot justify other wrong. by this logic we will be forced to glorify every act of violence, some one here or there might have justified it. take example of GOD Parshuram who did genocide of kshayriyas / thakurs. Parshuram is still worshipped by millions . does it mean becouse of parshuram episode, murder of shambhuka by ram and thousands of such atrocities does not give any one any right to harm against any individual.

  2. August 22, 2012 12:31 PM

    This is a lesson for us. Not to fall for any information that we would like to be true. If we do, there are any number of people out there to take advantage of our gullibility and stir up trouble, causing hurt to everyone of us.

  3. August 23, 2012 1:16 AM

    What can one expect from Press Council of India. This may be a mistake but for years Shiv Sena’s Samna has openly preached hatred. What did they do?

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