On April 19, Times Now aired a broadcast claiming large gatherings were seen in Kerala despite the “skyrocketing” of COVID cases.

Kerala reported over 13,000 COVID cases on Monday. Times Now’s broadcast was on Kerala Health Minister K.K. Shailaja’s statement that the annual festival of Thrissur Pooram will not be cancelled, despite public health concerns. The decision was met with criticism by activists, journalists and several social media users. The government has now decided that the festival, scheduled to be observed on April 23, will not witness public gatherings but only rituals will be held. It is noteworthy that Times Now’s broadcast was aired before this decision was taken.

Times Now aired visuals from Andhra to represent ‘large gatherings’ in Kerala

Times Now used visuals of people in Kairuppala village, Kurnool gathered for ‘Pidakala War’ after Ugadi where thousands of villagers split into two and hurled cow dung at each other as part of the celebrations. Pidakala War was held on April 15 and several news channels had aired visuals of the festival where the same visuals aired by Times Now as Kerala can be seen.

Ironically, Times Now did identify the location as Kurnool in its broadcast yet used the visuals for reporting on Kerala.

However, the location was identified only in the first part of the broadcast and other visuals from Pidakala War were shared with just the date – April 15. These can be watched in the Republic broadcast at 0:43, 1:14, 1:40 and 1:48.

Times Now has used footage of unrelated events to report on certain incidents in the past as well. Last year, Times Now aired old visuals after India-China tensions in Eastern Ladakh.

About the Author

Pooja Chaudhuri is a senior editor at Alt News.