“Army gun down 5 terrorists in J&K but @ndtv call them Citizens Pls for sake of this Nation and our brave soldiers STOP watching @ndtv Unsubscribe @ndtv and all its channel, Twitter Handles, FB and uninstall @ndtv APP”, tweeted Gaurav Pradhan, a right-wing social media user who is followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter. Along with the message, a screenshot has been attached showing the ticker (bottom text) of NDTV India which reads, “5 नागरिकों की मौत के विरोध में कश्मीर बंद” (Kashmir shut down due to protest over death of 5 civilians- translated).
Army gun down 5 terrorists in J&K but @ndtv call them Citizens
Pls for sake of this Nation and our brave soldiers STOP watching @ndtv
A Facebook page Great Narendra Modi too shared this message on August 7, which has been shared over 1600 times so far. The page has over a million followers. It was also shared by the Facebook page of Postcard News.
In the wake of this incident, right-wing social media users have shared the snapshot of NDTV India to claim that NDTV is an ‘anti-national news organisation’ which ‘deserves to be boycotted’ as it referred to slain terrorists as civilians. However, a snapshot of the report by NDTV of this recent encounter does not match with what has been circulated. Alt News contacted NDTV which provided us with a screenshot of this news which was broadcast on the channel on August 4, 2018.
Alt News discovered that this particular claim, although being shared now on social media, has been circulating over the past three months. All those who have shared this message have used the screenshot which says, “5 नागरिकों की मौत के विरोध में कश्मीर बंद” (Kashmir shut down due to protest over death of 5 civilians- translated). The tweet posted below is the earliest instance that Alt News could find of this screenshot being used to target NDTV. It was tweeted on May 7, 2018.
NDTV का हाथ आतंकवादीयो के साथ कश्मीर में मारे गए 5 आतंकवादी लेकिन NDTV वाले कह रहे हैं 5 नागरिकों की मौत pic.twitter.com/PUxURsuE1W
Alt News found that this screenshot that has been circulated to target NDTV refers to a report of May, 2018 when an encounter between security forces and terrorists in the valley resulted in the death of 5 terrorists and an equal number of civilians. There are numerous reports by a number of media outlets includingCNN News18, India Today and ANI which refer to this encounter which took place on May 6, 2018.
Five civilians killed in an encounter between militants and security forces in Shopian, J&K https://t.co/Uo93TpUFDm
Clashes broke out between civilians and security forces in Shopian, Pulwama and other parts of South Kashmir following encounter of five terrorists in Shopian’s Badigam today; five civilians were killed in the clashes pic.twitter.com/Uvnk2rGX62
The video posted below has been taken from the website of NDTV. This report by NDTV India is of the same encounter which took place on May 6, 2018 in the valley and refers not only to the death of five civilians in the cross-fire but also the fact that five terrorists were shot dead by security forces in Shopian.
The screenshot of NDTV shared on social media refers to the death of five civilians. The channel has been accused of referring to the slain terrorists as civilians. However, this is not true, since NDTV had reported on May 7, 2018 that five terrorists had been gunned down by security forces at Badigam in Shopian.
Srinagar: Shutdown called by separatists in Kashmir over death of 5 civilians in clashes with security forces in Shopian, Pulwama and other parts of south Kashmir following encounter of 5 terrorists in Shopian’s Badigam yesterday (ANI)
Insofar as the screenshot which has been circulated is concerned, NDTV was not wrong in reporting that five civilians had been killed in the cross-fire, but right-wing social media users made it seem as if the channel has deliberately referred to terrorists as civilians, on the basis of one snapshot which did not capture all the details of the event. Alt News has contacted NDTV to avail the snapshots of the report broadcast in May, 2018 and will update the story once we receive the same.
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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.