ANI makes absurd claim about Imran Khan’s wife based on photoshopped screenshot

On September 29, multimedia news agency ANI published an article on Pakistan PM’s wife Bushra Bibi with the caption, “Pakistan’s first lady Bushra Bibi’s image does not appear in mirrors: PM House staff”. While quoting an unnamed member of PM House staff, ANI reported that Pakistan’s first lady’s image does not appear in mirrors. The report was based on a screenshot of Pakistan’s Capital TV which reads, “پی ایم ہاؤس کے ٹاف کے مطابق خاتون اول کا آئینے میں عکس نظر نہیں آتا (According to PM House staff, Image of the first lady not seen be seen in the mirror.)”

The article which was also tweeted by ANI editor Smita Prakash is now deleted. After taking it down, ANI published another article titled, “Twitterati divided over reports that Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s wife Bushra Bibi’s image doesn’t form in mirrors.”

Here they claimed, “Even as some Pakistani journalists alleged that the picture is photoshopped, a Pakistani source said that the news was actually run by the tv channel before being pulled off-air.

What is the truth? Did Capital TV report any such news?

While searching for the report by Capital TV, Alt News came across several tweets by the channel calling out ANI and denying that they had published any such report. In one of the tweets, Capital TV blamed ANI and their “irresponsible journalism” for using a “photoshopped poster” with Capital TV’s template.

In another tweet, Capital TV claimed that their administration had already filed a complaint with the FIA about a fake poster when it was circulated a year ago. While speaking to the anchor, Director of Capital TV, Naushad Ali had mentioned that they had filed a complaint with FIA Cyber Crime Wing last year.

While searching for older reports, Alt News came across a tweet by a Journalist Aniqa Nisar of Capital TV on Oct 1, 2018, saying no such news was aired by the channel. She had also tweeted that they had filed a complaint with FIA Cyber Crime Wing.

We found another 2018 tweet by Capital TV which shared a copy of the complaint in FIA‘s Cyber-Crime Wing against those “spreading false and absurd news”.

Misinformation by ANI later picked up by several media outlets

Times Now had published an article with a similar headline, “Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s wife Bushra bibi’s reflection can’t be seen in a mirror, claims report.” 

Times Now also published an article in Hindi.

Both their reports have been updated without a clarification that the channel had earlier published misinformation.

Several other Hindi media outlets had also carried similar stories – Aaj Tak, Dainik Jagran, Amar Ujala, TV9 Bharatvarsh and Loksatta. The Indian Express published a report in Bengali based on the ANI article.

TV9 Bharatvarsh tweeted इमरान की ‘अदृश्य बेगम’ पाकिस्तान में वायरल है! देखिए आज रात 8:30 बजे @TV9Bharatvarsh पर”

The misinformation was also shared by propaganda website OpIndia and MyNation. The former later modified their report, including its title.

In conclusion, a piece of misinformation travelled in the media and subsequently to millions of viewers after a misinformed report was published by ANI and later picked up by other media outlets.

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