Jamia: How A Rumour On Social Media Found Its Way To News18 India
BOOM traces the path of a rumour that started on social media and found its way into mainstream news.
Hindi news channel News18 India's recent coverage stating the Delhi Police claimed Shadab Farooq, the Jamia Milia Islamia (JMI) student who was injured by a teenage shooter on January 30, 2020, is the same person seen in CCTV footage of December 15, 2019 when police stormed the campus, has raised the question about who floated the theory that has now been debunked.
BOOM also reached out to the Delhi Police on Friday for a comment. Rajesh Deo, the deputy commissioner of police (crime branch), who heads the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that is investigating the December 15, 2019 violence at Jamia, denied putting out any official statement identifying the individual in the CCTV footage.
"Our job is not to clarify every report that comes in the news," Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Rajesh Deo told BOOM.
"The person who has written it, should clarify. We did not put out any such official statement that linked both of them. So, we don't know from where this is coming."
On December 15, 2019, a large protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act that was peaceful in the morning turned violent by afternoon with rioters pelting stones and setting fire to buses and private vehicles in localities close to the university. Delhi Police, which is currently battling allegations of using excessive force against students has maintained that rioters from nearby areas fled to the campus forcing police to act.
The university has been thrust back into the news this month after a Twitter handle in the early hours of February 16, 2020, leaked a CCTV video showing the police lathi charge students in a room within the library building. Since then multiple leaked CCTV footage have presented conflicting accounts of what took place.
On February 17, 2020, BOOM debunked viral Tweets which speculated that the Farooq and Mohammad Ahsraf Bhat, the other Jamia student seen in CCTV footage are the same person. BOOM had established that Farooq was not on campus on December 15, 2019
Also Read: False: Student Injured In Jamia Shooting Also Seen In CCTV Footage
Several verified Twitter handles were responsible for making the false claim viral in the second half of February 16, 2020.
However, a closer look at News18 India's coverage from the following day (February 17, 2020) breathed new life into the false claim.
The channel claimed that the SIT team put out both photos while stating that it was Shadab Farooq spotted in the library CCTV footage. It is not clear whether this input was on record or source based as the anchor cites Delhi police while the reporter cites Delhi Police sources.
It is also not clear whether News18 India attempted to reach out to Shadab Farooq to verify the claim.
Watch the clip below.
Click here to view tweet, and here for an archive.
News18 India reiterated the same false claim on another show on the channel anchored by Anand Narasimhan where he attributes the claim to Delhi Police saying "whether both are same or not, both the men are from Jamia." This is followed by a debate with panelists debating the Jamia violence.
जामिया हिंसा पर कौन सच्चा- कौन झूठा?#अखाड़ा@AnchorAnandN pic.twitter.com/oMAFo0XVjf— News18Hindi (@HindiNews18) February 17, 2020
Click here to view, and here for an archive.But even before News18 India had reported the same, on February 16, 2020, several Twitter handles had tweeted the same theory making the false connection between the two students.
The same set of two photos that News 18 India broadcasted were earlier viral with wild speculation that the two men are the same.
View Tweet 1, Tweet 2, Tweet 3
BOOM had then fact-checked the false claims and established that both the JMI students being compared are different and not the same student in the library spotted in the CCTV video. We had found that the student in the CCTV footage is not Shadab Farooq as being claimed but Mohammad Ashraf Bhat
Shadab Farooq had denied to BOOM that the student in the viral video is him and provided photographs that showed him at Jashn-e-Rekhta - an Urdu poetry event held on the same day.
Farooq has taken to Twitter demanding an apology from the channel.
I ask for an apology letter from @News18India— Shadab Najar (@ashu_najar) February 20, 2020
for defaming me in this video (Kyunki Dilli police ka dawa hai).
Otherwise, I'll be filing a defamation case against the channel.https://t.co/7s5INCkpAc
Speaking to BOOM Farooq said, "Changing narratives won't prove Delhi Police a dove. Delhi Police is brutal. Defaming me in the manner to correct Delhi Police's brutality is sheer injustice to the fourth pillar, News18 is standing on."
BOOM also reached out to Prabal Pratap Singh, Group Editor, (Hindi Cluster) News18, who said that he was not in town for a month and could not comment.
Also Read: No, Anti-CAA Protester Injured In Jamia Shooting Did Not Fake His Injury
Additional reporting by Swasti Chatterjee and Nivedita Niranjankumar
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