Postcard News, synonymous with misinformation in the garb of news, continues to post with impunity content which is communal in nature, provocative in tone and mostly untrue. In 2017, Alt News had chronicled numerous instances of fake news posted on this website. The fact that Postcard News has been exposed repeatedly seems to have made no dent in its penchant for fake news. Here are some more instances wherein Postcard News has resorted to misinformation.
1. Fake news of Jain monk assaulted by Muslims
In March 2018 in the run-up to the Karnataka election, Postcard News ‘reported’ that a Jain monk had been assaulted by Muslim youth in Karnataka. The Karnataka government was the target, as it was alleged that there is no safety in the state.
Not only was this information patently false and malicious, disseminated with the objective of inciting hatred but this misadventure landed Mahesh Vikram Hegde in prison. The Jain monk was NOT attacked by members of the Muslim community but had in fact met with an accident due to which he had sustained injuries.
2. Rumour mongering over death of Paresh Mesta in Karnataka
The body of 23-year-old Paresh Mesta was found floating on a lake after the flames of communalism singed Uttara Kanada district of Karnataka in January 2018. Mesta’s death was communalised – it was alleged that he was tortured and mutilated by ‘jihadis’. Postcard News was among those who fanned the fire, ‘reporting’ gory details of Mesta’s torture.
This report was a malicious concoction. This was confirmed by Department of Forensic Medicine, Manipal which conducted the post-mortem and released a document which gave a point-by-point rebuttal of each of the allegations of torture and mutilation of Paresh Mesta.
3. Fake extract from Pranab Mukherjee’s book
In June 2018, Postcard News published an article in which it claimed that former President Pranab Mukherjee had written in his book that Sonia Gandhi took umbrage over his words praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Postcard News reproduced an ‘extract’ from the book which said, “After PM Modi completed one year of his term in office, I praised him for the work done so far, on which Sonia Gandhi took umbrage and became angry. Once, while coming out after addressing the parliament, I happened to come face to face with her. She was accompanied by Gulam Nabi Azad and Mani Shanker Aiyer, who greeted me but Sonia kept waiting for me to greet her first. She forgot that the First Citizen of the country was in front of her. She had to acknowledge the President of the country and not Pranab Mukherjee. This greatly pained me from inside, that Sonia is so used to subservience.”
Alt News reached out to former President Mukherjee’s office to check if this was an excerpt from his books. His office stated, “The book ends when he became the President. Covers the period between 2004-2012. So where does the question of something in May 2015 arise?” In another article, it said that Mukherjee had claimed that Sonia Gandhi hates Hindus. This too turned out to be false.
“MASSIVE EXPOSE! Karnataka minister M.B. Patil’s letter to Sonia Gandhi reveals that Global Christian Council and World Islamic Organisation masterminded the division of Lingayats in Karnataka!” The website circulated a letter which it claims was written by Patil, president of Bijapur Lingayat Association, to Sonia Gandhi. This was also tweeted by Hegde.
As expected, this letter turned out to be a fabrication. Not only were the language and contents of the letter a dead giveaway, a quick Google search revealed that ‘Global Christian Council’ and ‘World Islamic Organisation’ do not exist. Alt News also spoke to Patil who rubbished this letter and said he will file for defamation. Following Alt News’ expose, the article and Hegde’s tweet disappeared from the internet.
5. Fake news of textbooks in Karnataka encouraging religious conversion
This claim too was false. Alt News has reported how social science textbooks of Karnataka include chapters not only on Islam and Christianity but also about the various strands of Hinduism. Moreover, the chapter on Christianity and Islam had been prescribed under the syllabus for social science by the National Curriculum Framework, 2005.
6. Fake quotes of Farhan Akhtar and A R Rahman
Needless to say, this quote turned out to be fake. Akhtar came out with a clarification, tweeting that he had never said what is being attributed to him by nefarious elements on social media and urged his fans and followers to be cautious about what and what not to believe on social media.
This lie was busted by SMHoaxSlayer in an article which clarified that Rahman had not said these words.
The picture is actually that of colonel D.K. Rai, who commanded the 6/8 Gorkha Rifles. Only, Colonel Rai passed away on March 29, 2017. He was attacked by the police during the Gorkhaland protest in 2008 and Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, the veteran CPI(M) leader, was the chief minister of West Bengal at that point of time.
8. Fake news on Rajdeep Sardesai’s son
“Rajdeep Sardesai’s son will lose his medical seat for getting admission by saying that his parents were NRIs?” asked the headline of an article on Postcard News in February, 2018. The article was based entirely on Prashant Patel Umrao’s unsubstantiated allegation that journalist Rajdeep Sardesai’s son had availed admission under the NRI quota at Manipal University in 2013.
Once again, this information turned out to be untrue. Sardesai placed documents regarding his son’s admission process in the public domain which revealed that he had gained admission for the medical course at Manipal University on merit. Manipal University also tweeted about this issue from their official handle.