media shots
media shots

Was Amit Malviya’s tweet the ‘source’ of a PTI news story?

The news agency reported that 154 ‘eminent citizens’ had written a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind supporting CAA and NRC. But who were these citizens?

By NL Team

Published on :

On February 17, almost all major Indian news outlets, including the Hindu, Indian Express, Times of India, Hindustan Times, Hindustan, Navbharat Times, Amar Ujala, Aaj Tak, published a report from the news agency PTI. It claimed that 154 "eminent citizens” had written a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind supporting the Citizenship Amendment Act, National Population Register and National Register of Citizens, and denouncing the opposition to them as a “false and selfish campaign”.

According to the report, these eminent citizens included 11 former high court judges, 24 retired Indian Administrative Service officers, 11 former Indian Foreign Service officers, 16 retired Indian Police Service officers, and 18 former military generals.

Bizarrely, neither the letter nor the PTI story identifies any of the 154 "eminent citizens” by name.

The report states that the authors of the letter believe the protests against the CAA and NRC are backed by some external forces. It frequently uses the phrase "they said" to refer to the “eminent citizens” but doesn’t explain who "they" are.

PTI released this report on its wire service at 7.24 pm, and it wasn’t long before most big media houses picked it up. The Times of India published three news stories based on this letter, including a video.

Curiously, Amit Malviya, the BJP IT Cell chief who is notorious for peddling fake news had put out this tweet a few hours before the agency’s report was published.

For a detailed analysis, read our report on Newslaundry Hindi.