'Fake Journalists' Detained In Mangaluru? Media Misreports Protest

Journalists from Asianet, News18 Kerala were among those who were detained by Mangaluru police.

Several news outlets such as News9 and TV9 Kannada misreported the detaining of 15 journalists who were in Mangaluru to cover anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests, by claiming they were "fake journalists".

Mangaluru police on Friday morning took into police custody atleast 15 reporters and camerapersons from prominent channels like Asianet, MediaOne, 24 News and News18 Kerala. BOOM spoke to local reporters and the organisations who confirmed that the journalists were taken into custody for not having a government issued accreditation. The journalists were released on Friday evening after being kept in custody for over seven hours.

Protests in Mangaluru against Citizenship Amendment Act took a violent turn on Thursday with police firing upon protestors and lobbing tear gas shells. The police firing led to the death of two people leading to further outrage. Internet services have been disconnected in the region and access to Manguluru heavily restricted.

News9, TV9 Kannada Spread Mininformation

News9 the English language news channel of the TV9 group tweeted about the incident as, "Mangaluru cops arrest around 50 fake journalists who had come from #Kerala. Arrested men were reportedly carrying lethal weapons."

This tweet was later deleted and the media house issued a "clarification" stating "Clarification: The #Mangaluru police had arrested a group of journalists from #Kerala after they failed to produce id proof. The same news was reported in the media. The cops later released the journalists." News9 deleted this clarification after sometime.


View the archive of the tweet here

ALSO READ : Dainik Bhaskar, Amar Ujala And Swarajya Misquote Scindia About Support To Citizen Amendment Bill

The report was also carried by TV9 Kannada, where the anchor spread the same misinformation that "50 fake journalists were arrested by Mangaluru police"


View the archive of the TV9 story here

Right leaning website Swarajya reiterated the misleading claim with the headline, "Mangaluru Cops Arrest 50 People From Kerala Who Posed As 'Mediapersons' And Attempted To Enter A Hospital With Weapons".

The Swarajya article which quoted Daijiworld, a Mangalore based news outlet claimed, "At least 50 men and women who had arrived by the Kerala train were arrested by Mangaluru police for trying to enter the city by posing as mediapersons". The story further added, "Unable to produce identity to be mediapersons, a group of 50 men and woman from Kerala allegedely attempted to enter Wenlock hospital with weapons and cameras but police foiled their bid."



IP Patel, advocate who has been caught in the past for sharing fake news of a communal nature also tweeted the misleading claim.

Mahesh Hegde, founder of fake news site Postcard also tweeted claiming "50 fake journalists who came from Kerala were arrested in Mangalore".



WHAT REALLY HAPPENED? MANGALURU POLICE DETAINS KERALA JOURNALISTS FOR LACK OF "ACCREDITATION"

At around 9 am on Friday, the Mangaluru police started questioning reporters present outside Wenlock hospital. The reporters, many of them from Kasargod in Kerala were covering the post-mortem of the two people who died on Thursday following police firing on protestors in the region. Dr PS Harsha, Police Commissioner was caught on camera questioning a Media One reporter who was broadcasting live from the hospital.

We were able to access the same video which shows Harsha asking the journalist for "accreditation" to prove that he is a "genuine mediaperson". The video further shows the reporter displaying his PRESS card hung around his neck, which Harsha rejects as "not issued by any government authority."

The video further shows, policemen asking the cameraman of the channel to stop broadcasting and taking the journalists away from the scene. One of the policemen can be heard shouting, "Out" to the journalist from Media One.

News18 Kerala also reported a telephonic byte from their cameraperson Sumesh Morazha, minutes after he was detained and put into a police van by the Mangaluru police.


Morazha speaking to the channel says, "Right now I'm in police van. All our mobile phones are confiscated. I had two phones and one of them is with the police." He further explains that they were at hospital mortuary premises shooting a news report for half an hour, following which the police and asked them to shoot from outside the hospital gate.

"We went out and started rolling. The Commissioner (referred to as SP by the reporter) came and asked me to show him an identity card so I showed him my PRESS card. But he started asking for accreditation card since we were from a Kerala mediahouse."

BOOM also spoke to a few local reporters who on the condition of anonymity confirmed the incident and said, "the police suddenly started demanding government accreditation from the journalists. Especially from those who were not reporting in Kannada or Tulu language". The reporter further said that journalists from Kerala were detained from two places - "From near the State Bank area where they were reporting the protests and from outside Wenlock hospital".

The reporters added, "How can they ask for government accreditation when reporters in Mangalore itself don't have it? Accreditation is given so ease access to state Assemblies, Parliament and to government functions. This was not a government event, it was a protest? Also, how will a accreditation issued by the Kerala government work in Karnataka?"

KERALA JOURNALISTS SPEAK

BOOM spoke to a reporter from Mathrubhumi, who managed to quickly leave from the place when the police were rounding up other mediapersons. On the condition of anonymity, he said 'police asked for government accreditation while the reporters started shooting in Wenlock hospital premises We were there for reporting the protest and accreditation is not mandatory as it is not a restricted area or a place which is under protocol. " He added, "The detained journalists are in custody and will only be released by evening. We have been unable to contact any of them".

In response to an email about the incident, Network18 Kerala issued a statement saying, "As part of our continuing coverage of the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, News18 Kerala deployed a reporting crew in Mangaluru. One of our video journalists, Sumesh VC, was detained by the police this morning along with other journalists from Kerala. He was carrying identification as an employee of News18 Kerala while carrying out a reporting assignment. He has no connection with illegal activity of any kind. After verifying his identity, the police released Sumesh and the other journalists."

Claim Review :  Mangalore police arrest 50 fake journalists from Kerala
Claimed By :  Media Outlets
Fact Check :  False
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