Indore (Madhya Pradesh): A fake news alleging that a BJP leader from MP was beaten up by sex workers in Goa over non-payment has stirred the political corridors of the state.
As per a Newslaundry report, this disinformation which even led to an FIR against the state Congress for amplifying such news articles, was started by a news portal called IndyaTV News, which has been accused of peddling fake news several times in the past as well.
IndyaTV News is run by Flynn Remedios, who is also associated with IndiaScoops and the IndiaScribes as the managing editor and editor respectively. The news portal published a series of articles on March 7, 10 and 11 alleging that a BJP leader was assaulted by sex workers in Goa for refusing to pay for their services, in a sensational manner.
The news item was later picked up by several mainstream news organisations including ‘Dainik Jagran’, though with a disclaimer claiming the report was based on 'hearsay'.
Madhya Pradesh Congress shared the news article from Dainik Jagran on its Twitter handle compelling the party’s Bhopal media cell head Rajendra Gupta to file a complaint with the Bhopal crime branch against the opposition party.
Bhopal police has registered a case against Congress for promoting ill will under section 505(2) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Goa SP Nidhin Valsan has refuted the news reports calling it fake. He further said that the Goa police is now looking for people who are involved in spreading this fake news.
Probe on, disclaimer added
Interestingly, as soon as the police came into action and starting probing the role of IndyaTV News in the whole incident, the news portal added a disclaimer and even put out a fresh article saying that there is no evidence that the incident even took place.
“In spite of our best efforts over the last one week to dig into the matter concerning the so-called fight between between a politician from Madhya Pradesh and a couple of commercial sex workers or call girls at a hotel in Calangute, North Goa, there seems to be no evidence whatsoever that the incident ever took place”, says the article.
The Newslaundry report also claims that the reporters working for IndyaTV News are not real. Rajtilak Naik, president of the Goa Union of Journalists, said that he has not heard of any such names in the journalism circle of Goa.
'We ran the unverified story to expose the flesh trade angle'
IndyaTV News editor Flynn Remedios blamed the mainstream media for 'twisting' the news.
He said, ‘That is when everything went berserk…we ran the unverified story to expose the flesh trade angle and how young girls are conned.”
Asked about the reporters working for his portal, Flynn claimed that they are scared, hence he has taken all the blame on himself.
The Goa Congress has also distanced itself from Flynn and said that they have stopped his access to the Congress office.
No FIR against the portal
The Congress called it ‘unbelievable’ that the police have filed an FIR against them just for sharing a news item published in newspapers.
BJP on the other hand maintained its stand that the opposition party has helped in aggravating the fake news and that they have no plans on filing a complaint against the news portal.
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