Monitoring Desk: Indian main-stream media is now known for broadcasting and engineering fake news. Sometimes it faces embarrassment but who cares?
On September 1, 2020, it faced worst kind of embarrassment when it was caught red-handed to play fake news by broadcasting old images of PLA cemetery as graves of Chinese killed in Galwan
Indian media claimed August 31, 2020, that it has found a cemetery of dead PLA soldiers who according to Indian media were killed during the Galwan valley face-off on June 15. Interestingly, Factfinders produced facts that photos used as a cemetery of dead PLA soldiers were actually a photo that was uploaded on the cyber world in the year 2011.
On August 31, Aaj Tak claimed to have obtained ‘exclusive’ imagery that proves “40 PLA soldiers” were killed in the cross-border skirmish. Anchor Rohit Sardana claimed in an impassionate narration, “We are showing you pictures of the graves of Chinese soldiers. Several people in the country wanted proof of the Chinese soldiers who were killed in Galwan clashes. The proof is on your television screens…more than 40 Chinese soldiers died in clashes with India and you can watch how Chinese soldiers paid respect to their tombs.”
गलवान में मारे गए चीनी सैनिकों की क़ब्रों की तस्वीरें हैं. जिसको गिनना हो गिन ले. और दोबारा सुबूत माँग कर भारतीय सेना के शौर्य पर सवाल न उठाए. pic.twitter.com/DkcKUVnIP7
— रोहित सरदाना (@sardanarohit) August 31, 2020
Aaj Tak’s English counterpart, India Today, also broadcast similar visuals. The channel showed satellite imagery of the same set of graves with two red arrows pointing at specific area claimed to be “new graves”. Anchor Nabila Jamal claimed, “China soldiers who died in Galwan clash buried at Kangxiwa war memorial. Pictures of that show graves being visited by PLA soldiers…proof of China’s massive Galwan casualties.”
Times Now, claimed, “Photos of 106 PLA tombstones reveal the extent of Chinese casualties in June 15 Galwan clash.” The channel further wrote in a tweet, “PM Modi was right about Galwan grit, pro-China lobby ‘doubted’ India.”
What ‘sold out China lobby’ buried. Photos of 106 PLA tombstones reveal extent of Chinese casualties in June 15 Galwan clash.
PM Modi was right about Galwan grit, pro-China lobby ‘doubted’ India.
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) August 31, 2020
NewsX and ABP News also broadcast shows where they claimed over 30 graves of Chinese soldiers who died in Galwan clashes were discovered.
In reality, these media hubs were using photographs of the Chinese military cemetery in Kangxiwa town that contains graves of PLA soldiers martyred in the 1962 Indian-Sino war.
While Aaj Tak claimed that 40 PLA soldiers died in the Galwan clashes, India Today did not make a verbal claim on the death toll yet ran images of the cemetery as “proof of massive casualty”. An infographic aired during the show suggested that the cemetery has 105 graves. A defence expert invited on the show, however, said these graves have been present at least since December 2019 and some new graves have recently cropped up.
Alt News found that the Google Earth photo aired by India Today dates back to 2011.