Delhi HC asks The Cognate to delete tweets indicating anti-Muslim bias in India Today’s reportage

By Muslim Mirror Staff

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has directed The Cognate, an online media outlet covering minority news, to take down tweets indicating bias in India’s Today’s coverage of violation of Covid-19 protocols at religious places.

The Cognate had published on Twitter an infographic indicating clear bias in India Today’s coverage. The infographic that had gone viral on social media had juxtaposed two tweets from India Today posted on April 14 with one on Kumbh Mela saying that devotees take holy dip with no reference to violation of protocols and another one on Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid saying “social distancing goes for toss”.

Justice Sanjeev Narula while considering the matter stated that some important facts pertaining to India Today’s reportage on the Covid-19 protocols that preceded the infographic needed to be considered in order to understand the context of the post.

On April 14, India Today posted two tweets the first tweet was displayed under the title “COVID protocols go for a toss during Kumbh Mela 2021” and the second tweet carried the title “Lakhs take holy dip to mark Shahi Snan at #Mahakumbh at #Haridwar watch #5iveLive, with @ShivAroor”.

Advocate Hrishikesh Baruah arguing for the channel told the Delhi High Court that the imputation made in the infographic was defamatory, misleading and patently false. Baruah argued that India Today in all its reports had emphasized the absence of social distancing norms during all religious festivals. He further stated that The Cognate had “cherry-picked” the headlines of two tweets to make an incorrect comparison.

The court order drew sharp reactions from various individuals on social media.

Former Delhi Minorities Commission chief Zafarul Islam Khan wrote on Twitter, ”you may win an argument in a Court employing powerful lawyers but the court of the man-on-the-street knows that a small event like Tablighi Jamaat (about a thousand people in a single place) could be turned into an issue of life & death for the country & community for months to hound on purpose a community from J&K to Kanyakumari, while major event like Kumbh, involving nine million who spread corona to every corner of country, are treated by godi media & govt with kid gloves. With due respect, Milord, this is stark reality.”

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