On October 8, Mumbai Police Commissioner Paramvir Singh briefed the media on their findings related to a Television Rating Point (TRP) racket. TRP is a tool that judges a channel’s viewership. It is directly proportionate with advertising revenues of a channel. In the briefing, Singh told people were compensated for tuning in to certain TV channels irrespective of whether they are watching it or not. Singh named three channels in the press briefing  — Fakt Marathi, Box Cinema, and Republic TV.

On the same day, Republic TV responded that a copy of the FIR in the TRP case mentions India Today as the channel to be investigated following which the latter published a story where a witness revealed he was paid ₹400 in cash for tuning in to Republic TV for two hours per day each month.

In the backdrop of this, a photo of Maharastra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray watching Republic TV is viral on Twitter.

Twitter user @atulsinha02 (archived link) and @VivekCEO (archived link) posted a photo of CM Thackeray purportedly watching Republic TV.

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Some Facebook users have also shared the image.

Morphed image

Alt News performed a reverse image search on Google using the InVID browser plugin.

We found the viral image has been edited. The unedited image was available on The Outlook‘s photo gallery. The photo is credited to PTI and the caption reads, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with Maharashtra CM Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray via video conference on COVID-19 preparedness, during the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus.” The image is dated April 27, 2020.

The comparison below shows that the viral image as been evidently morphed with a Republic TV broadcast.

Taking a closer at the viral image we noticed the hashtag #CantBlockRepublic displayed on the TV. Using that as a clue, we performed a keyword search on Twitter and found the image is from a Republic TV bulletin aired on September 11.

Therefore, a photo of Maharashtra CM Thackeray in a video conference with PM Modi was morphed to portray that the former was watching The Republic TV.

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About the Author

Archit is a graduate in English Literature from The MS University of Baroda. He also holds a post-graduation diploma in journalism from the Asian Collge of Journalism. Since then he has worked at Essel Group's English news channel WION as a trainee journalist, international NGO S3IDF as a fundraising & communications officer, and The Hindu as a reporter. At Alt News, he works as a fact-checking journalist.