It has been observed that mainstream media at times has succumbed to disseminating false information either unwittingly or otherwise. Recently in November, there was a report of television actress Sulagna Chatterjee who had put out on Instagram a screenshot of a chat she had with a casting agent wherein the latter talked of a ‘compromise’. Dainik Jagran through its twitter account put the story out with the picture of some other Sulagna Chatterjee. The person whose picture was wrongly used threatened the media house with a lawsuit following which the tweet was deleted and a clarification was issued.

A far more serious blooper was made by Dainik Jagran and Amar Ujala. On November 18, the Indian Army gunned down six terrorists in an encounter in the Bandipora district of North Kashmir. Next day on November 19, these dailies carried the news on the front page wherein they had published photographs of the slain terrorists.

Dainik Jagran also carried the pictures of the terrorists

As can be seen in the image above, the slain terrorists have been identified as Osama Jungi, Abu Jargam and Mohammad Bhai.

The story took an interesting twist, however, when it was revealed that the picture used for one of the terrorists was actually that of a citizen of Jammu & Kashmir. The terrorist who has been identified in the picture above as Abu Jargam is actually a resident of Jammu. His name is Abdul Majid and he runs a meat business. Majid got the shock of his life when he saw his picture on the front page of the newspapers portrayed as a terrorist. He spoke to the channel A2ZNews about his harrowing experience.

In both the cases cited in this article, a wrong image was used due to mistaken identity. Callousness on the part of these media houses by attributing false pictures could have the effect of marring reputations and careers, not to mention the trauma associated with it. In the case of celebrities, the media is prompt in correcting their mistake as we saw in the case of confusion over Shashi Kapoor and Shashi Tharoor, but when it comes to common people at the receiving end of their negligence, a similar enthusiam is usually missing. Ordinary citizens often have to run from pillar to post and even contemplate legal action, eventually forcing media houses to retract. To err is human, but it is incumbent upon mainstream media to avoid such slip-ups so that the story can be reported with accuracy after due checks.

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About the Author

Arjun Sidharth is a writer with Alt News. He has previously worked in the television news industry, where he managed news bulletins and breaking news scenarios, apart from scripting numerous prime time television stories. He has also been actively involved with various freelance projects. Sidharth has studied economics, political science, international relations and journalism. He has a keen interest in books, movies, music, sports, politics, foreign policy, history and economics. His hobbies include reading, watching movies and indoor gaming.