Several mainstream Indian news outlets scrambled to save face over the weekend after wrongly attributing an Emirati columnist saying ‘Jai Siya Ram’ in a two-year old video, to Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.
Times Now and Zee News used Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to revive a 2016 video where the guest speaker addressing the Indian diaspora begins his speech with ‘Jai Siya Ram’. While both media outlets clearly stated that the video was old, they misidentified the speaker. (Click here to view an archived version of Times Now’s story and here for Zee New’s story)
Times Now’s story claimed, “The video shows Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan attending a Ram Katha programme led by Morari Bapu, the renowned exponent of the Ram Charit Manas. Bapu was in Abu Dhabi from September 17-25, 2016, for his 780th ‘Ram Katha’.”
Times Now later updated its story after being called out on Twitter but did not issue a correction. Zee News has killed the story all together.
Fake News and propaganda website Postcard News also repeated the mistake.
The video and stories was promptly lapped up on social media.
When the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince was invited on stage to share his views, he began the speech with ‘Jai Siya Ram’, sending the crowd into a frenzy. https://t.co/B0rM19hPc2
— Jagrati Shukla (@JagratiShukla29) February 10, 2018
When Abu Dhabi Crown Prince started his speech with ‘Jai Siya Ram’
When the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince was invited on stage to share his views, he began the speech with ‘Jai Siya Ram’, sending the crowd into a frenzy. https://t.co/XEoXwkHQJq
— Amrita Bhinder (@amritabhinder) February 10, 2018
In the below video, the host introduces the person saying ‘Jay Siya Ram’ as the Sheikh Sultan and not the Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi is a UAE-based columnist and a prominent commentator on Arab affairs.
Below is a tweet from the crown prince’s official Twitter handle.
تأتي زيارة رئيس الوزراء الهندي لترسخ توجه القيادتين نحو توثيق التعاون المشترك في كافة المجالات.. ومتابعة هذا التوجه الاستراتيجي عبر آليات فاعلة لضمان تحقيق رؤيتيهما. pic.twitter.com/ujf5lmMr3n
— محمد بن زايد (@MohamedBinZayed) February 10, 2018
The gaffe by Indian news outlets has not gone unnoticed by international media. Gulf News has published a scathing article hauling up Times Now and Zee News for the error.