- NL Sena
On September 17, at an event organised by the All India Management Association (AIMA) in New Delhi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said, “After nearly 70 years of Independence, there was a question in the minds of the people whether the vision of the founding fathers had really been realised; whether the multi-party democratic system had failed to fulfil the aspirations of the citizens of the country,”
On September 18, news wire agency ANI reported Shah’s statement under the headline “Amit Shah questions efficacy of multi-party democratic system in India”.
In its print edition on the same day, Times of India reported the statement under “Shah raises questions on multi-party democracy”. While TOI took down the story citing “factual inaccuracies”, ANI mailed its clients asking them to withdraw it. The ANI email said: “Please withdraw the story with the Headline:- ‘Amit Shah raises questions over efficacy of multi-party democracy’ from your website and news portals. a substitute story will follow (ASAP).”
The ANI story was substituted with an updated copy hours later. The headline now reads: “People were disappointed with previous govts before Modi came to power: Shah”. A source at ANI told Newslaundry that the story’s withdrawal and substitution was an “honest correction”. “The earlier version made it seem like the statement was made on the [multi party] system and its future, but it was referring to the past,” the source said.
In TOI, the headline was modified to “Before 2014, there was despair and gloom about India’s direction: Amit Shah“.
Hindustan Times had reported Shah’s statement under the headline “Threats to integrity will get strong response, says Shah“. Indian Express went with “Shah targets Cong: People had begun to doubt multi-party system“. The HT and Express headlines remained unchanged.