On June 21, the Calcutta High Court refused the West Bengal government’s plea to stay its order directing the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to probe post-poll violence in the state. On June 18, the court had ordered NHRC to constitute a committee to investigate complaints filed in the matter. Three days later, CNN-News18 aired a primetime segment covering the development. The channel used the hashtag #BengalVendettaKillings in a tweet carrying a portion of the broadcast. News18 aired numerous photos of violence as visuals from the aftermath of the Bengal elections. But the channel failed to state that the images were used for representational purposes.

First photo

This image was aired several times between the 7:45 to 9:00 mark and the 10:55 to 11:55 mark.

But it dates back to 2018 when clashes had broken out in Asansol during Ram Navami celebrations. The New Indian Express attributed the photo to PTI and wrote, “Police personnel patrol after clashes and incidents of arson over a Ram Navami procession in Raniganj, in Burdwan district of West Bengal on Monday.” According to the report, two people died in the violence and dozens were injured. NDTV had used the same image in a March 27, 2018 story.

Second photo

This image was aired when the debate segment was about to begin.

This visual is actually from 2019 when protests were held in West Bengal and several other parts of the country after Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) was passed in the Rajya Sabha. Youth Ki Awaaz used this photo in a report dated December 16, 2019, and The Citizen used it in a December 17, 2019 story.

Journalist Tirthankar Das tweeted the picture on December 16, 2019, while reporting on the violence in West Bengal sparked by the protests.

Third photo

When this image appeared during the News18 broadcast, anchor Narsingham was discussing the chronological incidents of violence that occurred in West Bengal in May and June 2021.

A reverse image search revealed that it was taken in July 2018. Attributed to PTI, Hindustan Times had carried the image on July 9, 2018, while reporting that a bike had been set ablaze in the violence that erupted during Panchayat elections in West Bengal. Outlook also published it in a 2018 article.

CNN-News18, therefore, used unrelated photographs depicting violence that had taken place in West Bengal in the past. These were used during a show on the post-poll violence in West Bengal after the 2021 elections.

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About the Author

Priyanka Jha specialises in monitoring and researching mis/disinformation at Alt News. She also manages the Alt News Hindi portal.