There was massive outrage on social media after the news of lathicharge by the police on students of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) broke out. The students were protesting against the molestation of a student but the protest took an ugly turn and a number of students were injured in police action. With tempers running high, many images of injured students were shared on social media users commenting on women’s safety under the BJP government. At times like this, fake images and fake news raise their ugly head. Several politicians and journalists fell victim to one such fake image.
The fake image was shared by several people including Prashant Bhushan, Sanjay Singh, Ashok Gehlot, Mrinal Pandey and Swati Chaturvedi, to name a few.
As the image went viral on Twitter, Alt News alerted the users that the image was fake.
Image on the left is being shared as a victim of lathi-charge in BHU. In reality, she was attacked reportedly because of a one-sided affair. pic.twitter.com/t6nNf1ecC4
— Alt News (@AltNews) September 24, 2017
Many of those who had tweeted or retweeted the image, deleted their tweets and some even apologized for the same.
You are right.My mistake.It was put up by BHU buzz,which has since admitted it's mistake. However the brutal lathi charge injured many girls https://t.co/X3lqaXSmav
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) September 24, 2017
Only the photo was pointed out by some to be fake, and has since been deleted.The news was correct and is still making headlines everywhere. https://t.co/gn5tJxRCgj
— Mrinal Pande (@MrinalPande1) September 24, 2017
Am not sure of the veracity of this image. Was sent by a journalist friend. https://t.co/ZamrRgVxF3
— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) September 24, 2017
At a time when one is outraged about an incident, it is easy to fall prey to fake images. In this case, it is a fact that there were injuries to students due to a police lathicharge. This was perhaps used by someone to share an unrelated image of a more serious injury to whip up passions. We have seen this happen frequently on social media when someone shares an image or video of an unrelated incident to whip up passions and many people inadvertently believe it to be true. It is therefore it is important to verify that the source of the image is reliable before sharing it further, particularly if the image is violent or gruesome in nature. If you find yourself unknowingly sharing an image that is a fake, there is nothing wrong in admitting it. We are glad to see that in this case, many have regretted their mistake and tweeted about it.
Independent journalism that speaks truth to power and is free of corporate and political control is possible only when people start contributing towards the same. Please consider donating towards this endeavour to fight fake news and misinformation.