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‘Making Out In The Backseat To Be Fined’: iDiva Publishes Misleading Article

‘Making Out In The Backseat To Be Fined’: iDiva Publishes Misleading Article

BOOM found that new act fines those passengers not wearing a seatbelt while sitting in the rearseat of a vehicle.

iDiva, a women’s lifestyle website owned by Times Internet has published a misleading article with a false claim that ‘Making Out In The Backseat Will Officially Cost You Rupees 1000 From Now On’.

Following a query from BOOM, iDiva has changed the headline and the story and republished it with a note. The new headline reads, ‘Not Wearing A Seatbelt In The Backseat Will Officially Cost You Rupees 1000 From Now On!’ and the note states, ‘A previous version of the story was open to misinterpretation. We’ve updated the headline to accurately reflect the story’s content.’

The previous article read, “Remember the good old days, when a friend agreed to take you and your crush for a “long drive”, which was actually just an appropriate translation for “Baby pull me closer, in the backseat of your Rover”? Well, guess what? That could very well cost you a thousand bucks now.”

Click here to access the archived version of the story.

Facebook screenshot of misleading story published by iDiva

The story in the first two paragraphs spoke about making out in the backseat of a vehicle, in the third paragraph said, “The new Motor Vehicles Act came into effect this month…the new law is particularly focused on one violation that has been occurring far too often —passengers in the backseat not wearing their seatbelt!”

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The story was published by iDiva on their Facebook page. It was shared widely on Twitter with many readers believing the misleading headline.

BOOM reached out to the traffic police department in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore and senior traffic officials in all three cities denied existence of any such offence in the new Motor Vehicles Act. Pravin Padwal, additional commissioner, Mumbai Traffic police said, “No such offence is mentioned anywhere in the Motor Vehicles Act.” He added that under the new Motor Vehicles Act, 2019, passengers in the rearseat of a vehicle not wearing a seatbelt would be fined Rs 1000.

Responding to BOOM’s query on mail, a spokesperson for iDiva, said, “The intent of the story was, indeed, to highlight the fact that not wearing seatbelts in the rear seat would attract a fine of Rs 1000. However, we realise that some key editorial checks which are usually made did not happen in this piece. This resulted in a headline (and indeed a thumbnail) which is misleading. We’ve since updated the story, headline and thumbnail to more accurately depict the facts.”

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A former city correspondent covering crime, Nivedita is a fact checker at BOOM and works to stop the spread of disinformation and misinformation. When not at work, she escapes into second-hand bookstores, looking for magic or a mystery.

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