Will the Army’s “pinpoint strike” rebuttal finally fact check overenthusiastic TV anchors?

It took a statement from the Indian Army to force TV anchors to take back fake news on air strike

Image Courtesy:newsheads.in

Indian Army Director General of Military Operations Lt Gen Paramjit Singh had to make a public statement on Thursday, November 19, to call out fake news and refute “reports” of “pinpoint strikes” on “terror launch pads inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK)”. The Army has categorically stated that there were “no firing or ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC)” on Thursday after TV News anchors, and social media influences began “reporting’ fake news of the supposed strike. “Reports of Indian Army’s action in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) across the Line of Control are fake,” said Indian Army Director General of Military Operations Lt Gen Paramjit Singh.

The  senior Indian military officer clarified that media reports claiming the “pinpoint strikes” were fake after scores of media outfits began ‘quoting sources’ and a news flash by The Press Trust of India (PTI) went viral. According to the fake news ‘sources’ said ‘intelligence-based targeted strikes’ were conducted by the Indian army to neutralise Pakistani / foreign terrorists. However, later on another news agency ANI quoted Military Lt Gen Paramjit Singh’s rebuttal.



The strike however has been an egg in the face of a group of news anchors who are known for knee jerk reactions, putting out unverified news, and often fake news on their TV ‘news shows’ as well as on social media.  

Soon enough it trended and turned into, “#फर्जी_गोदी_मीडिया_माफी_माँगों” that translates as “fake news ‘lap’ media apologise”. Some media groups are being referred to as ‘godi’ or lap media as they are often seen as pandering to the political parties and persons in power. Often parroting political ideology even when reporting news. 

Here are a few examples of them ‘reporting’ and celebrating the ‘airstrikes’ that probably happened on their whatsapp group only. 



The ‘translate-copy-paste’ style ‘reports’ were then amplified by their followers on social media and the fake news monster continued to be well fed. According to the Quint the ‘reports’ of “pinpoint strikes” emerged a week after four Indian Army personnel, a BSF sub-inspector and six civilians were killed while four security forces personnel and eight civilians were injured in the firing by Pakistan during the multiple ceasefire violations between Gurez, Nowgam, Keran and Uri sectors in Jammu and Kashmir. Indian troops retaliated, killing eight Pakistani soldiers and injuring 12 others, causing substantial damage to several launch pads.

The TV anchors’ faux pas got called out by thousands of social media users who asked “why do they spread fake news? Do they get paid for that?” So many launched virtual rotten eggs at the TV anchors that #फर्जी_गोदी_मीडिया_माफी_माँगों has continued to trend all day.




According to the Quint, there were  social media users who also passed off footage from a video game called Arma 2, as “exclusive footage” of the attack. Of course like the TV anchors they follow the air strike enthusiasts called the video game footage: “ Big Breaking News:- One more #AirStrike by @IAF_MCC in the Pok, Many #terrorists and their training camps demolished by #indianairforce Many terrorists also killed in this air strike.” (sic)” reported the Quint adding that some users also insinuated that the said airstrikes are a “gift from the forces”. The quint shared one such image from a user 

(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

An archived version of the tweet can be accessed <a href="https://archive.is/q31xM">here</a>.

The Quint fact check team discovered that the clip of the viral video was from a 2015 YouTube video uploaded in by a channel called Double Doppler. It was a clip  of a video game called Arma 2. Interestingly the Quint revealed that the same footage was made viral with misleading claims after the Balakot airstrike in 2019 as well.

Though he did not apologise for his grave mistake, Deepak Chaurasia was eventually forced to delete his fake news tweet, and posted this: “The army denied the news by PTI. It said that this is incident is of November 13, nothing has happened today”


Rubika Liyaquat too had to post a line about the army’s rebuttal of her fake news: “PTI’s news is based on an analysis of the November 13 ceasefire breach. The army today denied any such action.”


Deepak Chaurasia has always been called out for also spewing communal hate on social media, and on his shows. Chaurasia, News Nation television channel’s Consulting Editor has often peddled communal hate on social media. Once to publicise his show, he shared a clip on November 6, 2020  and appealed to his audience/followers to tweet on Dharamantar Jihad (Conversion Jihad) giving rise to dangerous hate politics. The show on its channel News Nation openly declared that 5,000 Hindus have already become Muslims (5,000 Hindu kaise banaye Muslim?) and captions like ‘Maulana Gang exposed’, ‘Mewat kya Pakistan ban gaya?’ (Has Mewat become Pakistan?), were continuously allowed to run.

The coupling of fake news and hate speech on social media continues to fuel hate and divisiveness offline as well. Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) has approached the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) with a complaint against Pushpendra Kulshreshtha, an ex-journalist and former Secretary General of Press Club of India who is spewing communal hate through his YouTube channel “Public 24*7”. The CJP complaint dated November 18, 2020 brings to the MIB’s notice that Pushpendra Kulshreshtha has been using social media to make inflammatory speeches related to Islamic terror, rise of anti-nationalism, Kashmir, Popular Front of India, Student Islamic Movement of India, etc. The complaint also cites examples of some of the comments below his videos that suggest waging a civil war against Muslims and calling out Islamic Jihadis/Muslims as Hinduism’s biggest enemy.  

CJP has also approached the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) with a complaint against Kapil Mishra, a BJP politician who is using social media platforms to spew communal hate against minorities of the country. The CJP complaint dated November 18, 2020 brings to the MEITY’s notice that Kapil Mishra has been using his Twitter account to circulate a google form for his followers to fill and become a part of “Hindu Ecosystem Team” to work together and build the “right” narrative in the media. The form seeks personal details like name, profession, special interests (“gauraksha, gausewa, fight love Jihad, ghar wapsi, halal, mandir nirmal, hindu ekta, sewa, etc”) of his massive eight lakh followers. The membership form asks one to specify whether they would be joining the team “online” or “on the ground” or both.

It was widely reported that the National Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) had acted on CJP’s complaint against Zee News report on so-called ‘Zameen Jihad’. The broadcaster has been summoned for a virtual hearing on November 26, 2020. On October 28, 2020,  NBSA informed Zee News channel, via an official email, to be present for a hearing on November 26, 2020, to look into allegations of running a communal programme titled “DNA: Jammu म ज़मीन के ‘इ लामीकरण‘ का DNA टे ट (DNA test of Islamic conversion of land in Jammu).  The email through which the response was received by CJP said, “NBSA was of the prima facie view that the programme was not in consonance with the Fundamental Principles of the Code of Ethics No 6 which states that “Broadcasters shall ensure a full and fair presentation of news as the same is the fundamental responsibility of each news channel”; Also the Guidelines on Broadcast of Potentially Defamatory Content No 5 which states that “ a news anchor/journalist/presenter should not make any derogatory, derisive or judgmental statements as part of reporting or commentating” and also the Specific Guideline Covering Reportage relating to Racial & Religious Harmony, at Clause 9 states that “Racial and religious stereotyping should be avoided” and “ Caution should be exercised in reporting content which denigrates or is likely to offend the sensitivities of any racial or religious group or that may create religious intolerance or disharmony” were violated.


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