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Deccan Herald caught in sly attempt to malign Fr. Stan Swamy

Quiz published on July 15 attempts to defame him by insinuating he was linked to banned Maoist group

Sabrangindia 15 Jul 2021

Fr Stan Swamy

Readers of Deccan Herald, a prominent Begaluru-based English Language news paper, were shocked on Thursday morning when they discovered a quiz, purportedly a part of a consumer outreach program by the publication, suggest that Fr. Stan Swamy was linked to a banned Maoist group. 

The quiz, a picture of which may be viewed below asks readers to identify a person who recently passed away, based on a series of images: 

1) the Bhima Koregaon Pillar, 

2) advocate and union leader Sudha Bharadwaj, 

3) a white hammer and sickle against a red background (a logo of the banned group CPI-Maoist).

This weaves in with the narrative spun by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) who claim that Fr. Stan Swamy was associated with CPI - Maoist, a banner left wing terror group. Truth is Fr. Stan was an activist for Adivasi rights and had campaigned against their mass incarceration. The quiz and its choice of images, therefore, are not only in poor taste, but also defamatory, given how no charges against Fr. Stan have been proven so far. It is also dangerous because it can sway public pinion against Fr. Stan by subtly creating a connection in people's minds between him and Maoists.

Enraged activists and citizens groups have now written to the Editor of Deccan Herald saying, "We would like to draw your attention to the State page (Page 5) of E-Paper/Newspaper, released on July 15, 2021. The DH Visual Connect ad on the page is not just factually incorrect, but it is also in very bad taste. Advertising and holding contests, based on false information is not only indicative of the creator’s prejudice, but also of bad journalism." The letter further says, "How did the editorial staff not see the absurdities inherent in this advertisement? This oversight, if done inadvertently, is indicative of unprofessionalism, and if done deliberately smacks of malicious bias."

Drawing further attention to exactly why the quiz is disrespectful, the letter says, "We are dismayed at the concept of making a game of a person’s death. It is a shame that a newspaper of repute had to resort to making a prize-winning puzzle about a human rights activist, whose was incarcerated and abused by a system that is being globally condemned for being draconian. To mock the dead or abuse the living, is not the sign of a civilized person or publication. The clues used are even more shameful. It was a deliberate attempt to vilify Bhima Koregaon, human rights activist Sudha Bhardwaj, and the Communists!!!"

It asks, "What exactly was DH trying to achieve by running the advertisement on a day prior to the hearing of the case? Does it want it’s readers to develop a bias against the victims of a flawed and draconian state policy?" The activists also clarify, "Father Stan was not a communist, nor is Advocate Sudha Bhardwaj. Bhima Koregaon, the place and monument, is also not connected with the communist movements."

More pointedly, the letter questions the timing of the quiz and says that it "indicates mal-inten," adding, "At a point of time when Sudha Bhardwaj’s case is being decided by the courts, this would add credence to the false narrative around her. This is going to sublimely influence the readers, jury and others connected with the case that there is a connection between all four."

The signatories to the open letter are growing with each passing minute and they all stand resolute and united in their demand, asking Deccan Herald to "withdraw this false and malicious content immediately, and issue an apology for the same." Further, they say, "We would like the apology to be published in the same space in tomorrow's July 16's newspaper in all editions," warning, "In case there is no apology and withdrawal, we will be left with no option but take the matter to court." 

Activist Vimla KS also sent a strong message to DH and got this response from the publication: "This was done by a quiz agency, for quiz purpose (sic). We were not directly involved. However, we may issue a clarification."  

Related:

Thank you, dear Fr. Stan, you will live forever!
Citizens condemn Fr. Stan's institutional murder under UAPA
Reflections on the demise of Fr. Stan Swamy
Jesuits of India, journalists and academics bid Fr Stan Swamy an emotional farewell
Fr Stan Swamy’s death highlights the need to repeal UAPA

Deccan Herald caught in sly attempt to malign Fr. Stan Swamy

Quiz published on July 15 attempts to defame him by insinuating he was linked to banned Maoist group

Fr Stan Swamy

Readers of Deccan Herald, a prominent Begaluru-based English Language news paper, were shocked on Thursday morning when they discovered a quiz, purportedly a part of a consumer outreach program by the publication, suggest that Fr. Stan Swamy was linked to a banned Maoist group. 

The quiz, a picture of which may be viewed below asks readers to identify a person who recently passed away, based on a series of images: 

1) the Bhima Koregaon Pillar, 

2) advocate and union leader Sudha Bharadwaj, 

3) a white hammer and sickle against a red background (a logo of the banned group CPI-Maoist).

This weaves in with the narrative spun by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) who claim that Fr. Stan Swamy was associated with CPI - Maoist, a banner left wing terror group. Truth is Fr. Stan was an activist for Adivasi rights and had campaigned against their mass incarceration. The quiz and its choice of images, therefore, are not only in poor taste, but also defamatory, given how no charges against Fr. Stan have been proven so far. It is also dangerous because it can sway public pinion against Fr. Stan by subtly creating a connection in people's minds between him and Maoists.

Enraged activists and citizens groups have now written to the Editor of Deccan Herald saying, "We would like to draw your attention to the State page (Page 5) of E-Paper/Newspaper, released on July 15, 2021. The DH Visual Connect ad on the page is not just factually incorrect, but it is also in very bad taste. Advertising and holding contests, based on false information is not only indicative of the creator’s prejudice, but also of bad journalism." The letter further says, "How did the editorial staff not see the absurdities inherent in this advertisement? This oversight, if done inadvertently, is indicative of unprofessionalism, and if done deliberately smacks of malicious bias."

Drawing further attention to exactly why the quiz is disrespectful, the letter says, "We are dismayed at the concept of making a game of a person’s death. It is a shame that a newspaper of repute had to resort to making a prize-winning puzzle about a human rights activist, whose was incarcerated and abused by a system that is being globally condemned for being draconian. To mock the dead or abuse the living, is not the sign of a civilized person or publication. The clues used are even more shameful. It was a deliberate attempt to vilify Bhima Koregaon, human rights activist Sudha Bhardwaj, and the Communists!!!"

It asks, "What exactly was DH trying to achieve by running the advertisement on a day prior to the hearing of the case? Does it want it’s readers to develop a bias against the victims of a flawed and draconian state policy?" The activists also clarify, "Father Stan was not a communist, nor is Advocate Sudha Bhardwaj. Bhima Koregaon, the place and monument, is also not connected with the communist movements."

More pointedly, the letter questions the timing of the quiz and says that it "indicates mal-inten," adding, "At a point of time when Sudha Bhardwaj’s case is being decided by the courts, this would add credence to the false narrative around her. This is going to sublimely influence the readers, jury and others connected with the case that there is a connection between all four."

The signatories to the open letter are growing with each passing minute and they all stand resolute and united in their demand, asking Deccan Herald to "withdraw this false and malicious content immediately, and issue an apology for the same." Further, they say, "We would like the apology to be published in the same space in tomorrow's July 16's newspaper in all editions," warning, "In case there is no apology and withdrawal, we will be left with no option but take the matter to court." 

Activist Vimla KS also sent a strong message to DH and got this response from the publication: "This was done by a quiz agency, for quiz purpose (sic). We were not directly involved. However, we may issue a clarification."  

Related:

Thank you, dear Fr. Stan, you will live forever!
Citizens condemn Fr. Stan's institutional murder under UAPA
Reflections on the demise of Fr. Stan Swamy
Jesuits of India, journalists and academics bid Fr Stan Swamy an emotional farewell
Fr Stan Swamy’s death highlights the need to repeal UAPA

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