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4 Popular And 100% Fake Stories You Probably Fell For This Year

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In one of the episodes of the critically-acclaimed HBO television drama The Wire, the city editor Augustus Haynes tries to make a case to his managing editor for not running a story that has just come in. His concern: “Our job is to report the news, not to manufacture it.” Batting against the publication of the report, Haynes adds, “It (manufactured news) always starts with something true, something confirmed.”

In the episode, the managing editor cited circumstantial and not conclusive evidence to push for the publication of that particular story. However, websites that run fake news do little to investigate a rumour or an unverified claim if it confirms their biases. Sometimes they might add fiction to existing facts to spice up the story, or so it seems in the case of stories that we tried to verify.

Here we present fake or disputed stories from the three websites YKA investigated to understand just how fake news gets manufactured:

1. Kejriwal Stopped Arnab Goswami From Entering His Own Studio

A screenshot of the web-report by TheLotPot. Title reads- Big Expose: Arnab Goswami reveals how "Kejriwal did not let him go inside Times Now Studio".

What Was Published: TheLotPot claimed to do a ‘big expose’ on how Arnab Goswami was not allowed to enter the Times Now studio on Arvind Kejriwal’s directions. “It was a day after Kejriwal announced his Dharna on Jantar Mantar against Note Ban and Arnab Goswami was reporting against…Times Now did not let Arnab Goswami enter his own studio and the man behind it was Arvind Kejriwal,” the report said.

Source: It is true that Goswami has claimed that he was denied entry into his studio just days before he left his job at Times Now. It is also true that the Jantar Mantar report in question was aired before that. However, even Goswami hasn’t alleged that it was the Delhi CM who had manoeuvred the journalist’s exit.

The only source provided for the allegation is a clip of a video now not available on YouTube. It is possible that the video is a portion of an interview of Goswami at a News24 event. Goswami has never alleged that Kejriwal was the person behind his ouster.

2. Modi Told A Soldier To Shoot ‘Anti-Nationals’ At Sight

Screenshot of the web-report by Newspur. Translation of the title in Hindi- "If The Army Sees Anybody Hoisting A Pakistan Or ISIS Flag, They Can Shoot Them: Modi Ji"
What Was Published: Newspur published a report with a visual claiming that Narendra Modi said, “The army will be given the freedom to on-the-spot shoot anybody hoisting a Pakistan or ISIS flag”. The report claims that Modi made this comment to a soldier when the soldier asked him what he should do with ‘anti-nationals’. The identity of the soldier, the place, or the date the statement was missing from the report.

Source: There is little that can be verified in this report. Army Chief Bipin Rawat, however, did make a statement in February on those displaying ISIS and Pakistan flags in Kashmir, while paying tribute to security personnel in New Delhi.

“We would now request the local population that people who have picked up arms, and they are the local boys, if they want to continue with the acts of terrorism displaying flags of ISIS and Pakistan, then we will treat them as anti-national elements and go helter-skelter for them. They may survive today but we will get them tomorrow. Our relentless operations will continue,” Rawat had said.

The Prime Minister was also present at the event but isn’t reported to have made any such statement.

3. BBC-Survey Finds Congress 4th Most Corrupt Party In The World

A screenshot of the web-report by Newspur. Translation of the Hindi title- "Breaking: Sonia-Rahul's Party Congress Given The Title Of The Fourth-Most Thieving Party In The World

What Was Published: “A survey done by the BBC in 2017 named the top 10 corrupt, thieving, robbing parties, where Rahul and Sonia Gandhi’s Congress found the fourth place,” the Newspur report says. It also says that the results were obtained in a “global survey” done by “Britain’s media agency BBC”.

Source: The list presented in this report is taken from a blogpost by BBC News Point, a website whose name bears close resemblance to UK’s British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) . That’s where the resemblance ends though. While BBC News Point doesn’t claim any relation to the real BBC, like Newspur, many people cited the story as a BBC story. The blogpost in question just published a list of parties off their own accord. The source or basis of the list presented isn’t provided by the blogpost anywhere. Needless to say, the BBC hasn’t published any list or survey either.

4. Nostradamus Predicted 9/11 And Narendra Modi Becoming India’s Prime Minister

Screenshot of the opinion article published by Postcard News. Title Says- "Will the Nostradamus prediction made in the 14th century on Narendra Modi be a reality soon?"What Was Published: This is a classic case of using fabricated news, and then using it to generate more fabricated stuff. The ‘opinion’ article argues that Nostradamus had predicted that Narendra Modi would be the next Prime Minister of India, whimsically co-relating it with a fabricated prediction attributed to the French seer on the fall of the twin towers.

Source: Purportedly an email hoax that went viral in the aftermath of 9/11. The passage on the attack attributed to Nostradamus is text concocted with fragments from different passages by Nostradamus and additional words that Nostradamus did not write in those passages.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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