NDTV did NOT reveal that Ex-PM gave money to “The Hindu” reporter to publish about a possible LTTE attack on SL!

Altered International

Few days ago, Indian newspaper “The Hindu” reported about a possible LTTE attack on Sri Lanka. This news went viral in Sri Lanka with mixed reactions. In this context, a purported screenshot of NDTV online edition has been viral in social media, saying “The Hindu” reporter was given money to publish this news item, by the former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa. However, we were able to find out that NDTV had not published such a news item.

Social Media Posts

A purported NDTV screenshot has been spreading virally in WhatsApp as seen below titled “Ex-PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, funds the Hindu reporter to create fake news about LTTE resurgence.”

Under the headline it is said “The conquest to control power in Sri Lanka by the Rajapaksa continues as the intelligence confirms that the Hindu reporter has been funded to create hype about the resurgence of the LTTE.”

The article appears to have been extracted from AFP news agency. 

The screenshot was shared among Facebook users as well.

Facebook | Archived

Fact Check

We first checked about the controversial news item “The Hindu” had reported about a possible LTTE attack on Sri Lanka on May 18, to mark the Mullivaikal anniversary day (the day on which the civil war in Sri Lanka ended in 2009) and possible resurgence of LTTE cadres. The report was claimed to be based on warning of “Intelligence agencies” 

The Hindu| Archived

However , several Sri Lankan politicians questioned the timing of this article, less than a week after the former PM Mahinda Rajapaksa had vacated the office. 

Bimal Rathnayake | Mano Ganesan | Shanakiyan Rajaputhiran Rasamanickam

In response, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence on Saturday strongly denied reports of ex-LTTE cadre “regrouping to launch attacks” in Sri Lanka, as reported by The Hindu, citing sources in Indian intelligence. Here is the “The Hindu” article on the same.

Below is the press release from the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence.

News.lk | Archived

Then, we searched on NDTV World News section whether such an article of “The Hindu” reporter being sponsored by the former PM, Mahinda Rajapaksa, had been published. We couldn’t find such news published on NDTV online edition. 

However, they published a news item using the same image a few days ago on the 12th of May. That particular news was about Sri Lanka`s court  decision to avoid MR and some of his allies from Sri Lanka, and can be read hereArchived .

Here is an image comparison between real news and edited screenshot.

From above two images, we can clearly detect that the title font style of real news of NDTV is clearly different from that of the edited screenshot.

Another glaring error in the edited screenshot is the publishing time of the NDTV article, which is cited as 10.36 PM on 15th of May. 

Yet, the viral screenshot had been doing rounds, a few hours before 10.36pm from 15th May afternoon.

Below is the response from former NDTV CEO, Suparna Singh, denying the viral screenshot as “fake news”

We also checked the AFP latest news articles, to which the NDTV article had been attributed, but was not able to find any article as such either. We inquired the same from AFP Bureau Chief for Sri Lanka, Amal Jayasinghe, who also confirmed that AFP had not published such an article.

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Conclusion:

According to our investigation, we were able to find out that the purported screenshot which is spreading in social media implying that NDTV online edition reported that Mahinda Rajapaksa had given money to “The Hindu” reporter to publish the news item on possible resurgence of LTTE is an altered screenshot. Ministry of Defence in Sri Lanka also denies the original news reported by “The Hindu” and investigations are ongoing in this regard.

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Title:NDTV reveals that Ex-PM gave money to “The Hindu” reporter to publish about a possible LTTE attack on SL?

Fact Check By: Kalana Krishantha 

Result: Altered

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