Times Now First Denies Airing Doctored Video, Then Concedes it Did

Times Now has accused The Wire of running a “factually inaccurate” story about the showing of a doctored video on the channel. The charge is laughable. The story in question is an article by me, published on February 19, 2016 titled On Kanhaiya: It is Time to Stand Up and Be Counted.

A screengrab of the note published by Times Now on February 19, 2016, accusing The Wire of inaccurately reporting that the TV channel had aired a doctored video of Kanhaiya Kumar's speech.

A screengrab of the note published by Times Now on February 19, 2016, accusing The Wire of inaccurately reporting that the TV channel had aired a doctored video of Kanhaiya Kumar’s speech.

The doctored video, created by persons unknown, was intended to portray JNU Students Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar, now in jail facing charges of sedition, as someone who shouted slogans in favour of Kashmir’s azadi (Hindi for independence). The video was aired on several TV channels, including Times Now, and the article in question noted this fact.

On the afternoon of February 19, Arnab Goswami called me and insisted that Times Now had not shown the video at all and that when BJP spokesman Sambit Patra attempted to show it on air, he had stopped Patra from doing so. Taking Goswami, someone whom I have known for years, at his word, I edited the article to remove the reference to Times Now and added a note at the end stating:

In an earlier version of this article, Times Now was listed as one of the channels that broadcast the doctored tape of Kanhaiya Kumar. The channel’s head, Arnab Goswami has clarified that a BJP spokesman, Sambit Patra, sought to play the clip on his iPad during a debate but was not allowed to as the clip was not verified, and the clip was never played on the channel.

Soon thereafter, Times Now put up a notice on its channel (pictured above) in which it said the charge of having aired doctored footage was “factually incorrect”. When a reader of The Wire sent me the YouTube link which showed the doctored footage being aired on the channel, it became clear that Arnab Goswami had misled me.

After The Wire called Goswami out for having aired the doctored video,  his argument changed from ‘We never aired it’ to ‘We said the footage was unverified’. He then put out a 46-second, selectively edited version of his show with this misleading description:

Watch: The Newshour clip where BJP Spokesperson is told video put on Hindi channel had to be examined and could not be taken at face value.

The aim was to absolve himself of any legal or moral responsibility for having aired the forged clip, and treating it as fact in the questions he asked his studio guests. Forty-six seconds is all it takes to confirm that Times Now‘s claim – that Gowami told the BJP spokesman that the video “could not be taken at face value” – is itself a blatant lie.

How the doctored video was used

In this official recording of The Newshour programme, Goswami can clearly be heard repeatedly asking Patra (from 22:50 onward) to “show the video, show the video”. When Patra shows it, Goswami orders the Times Now camera to zoom in on it. “Show the video close by,” he says. After the forgery is aired, Goswami declares triumphantly, “I could clearly hear him [Kanhaiya] say, if that is indeed him in the video, I can clearly hear him say ‘leke rahenge azadi’.” He then turns to a guest, Anand Kumar from JNU, and says, “You are the one who is defending him. If this video is correct, then what are you going to say now?”

Neither during the airing of the clip by Patra nor immediately after does Goswami warn viewers that the contents of the video are completely unverified. It was left to another guest on the show, Swara Bhaskar, to object to the fact that the channel was airing an unverified clip. A few minutes later, while questioning Anand Kumar, Goswami says to him, “This is a video that is being shown by some Hindi channel. The point is that we will have to verify the video.” But then he immediately proceeds to question Kumar treating the video as completely authentic:

“The question to you Anand Kumar is this. There is Umar Khalid of the DSU, who is a member of a banned front organisation of the Maoists [sic], that has been established. … next to him is Kanhaiya in the video and what he’s saying is hum lekenge rahenge azadi. You know that Umar’s references to azadi were in the context of Kashmir. You can’t really turn it around to say, no, no, he is talking about azadi from BJP or sangh parivar. It cant be twisted to that point.

“If he did say these words, hum lekenge rahenge azadi, are you now going to say we must establish whether it was in the context of Kashmir or whether it was in a broad context, when you know he is standing next to Umar Khalid, and if you make that argument will someone accuse you of being blind to that facts that are coming there in your face.” [Emphasis added.]

After Anand Kumar comprehensively refutes these claims, Goswami agrees to give him the “benefit of the doubt since this video has to be examined” and concedes that “he could have been talking about azadi in another case”. But the recording of the hour-long show makes it clear that during his questioning of Kumar, Arnab had treated the contents of the fabricated video (that he had himself ordered Sambit Patra to play on air) as authentic.

I leave it to the readers of The Wire and the viewers of Times Now to watch the hour long clip and decide for themselves.

  • DN


  • Dinesh

    Times now ,Zee news & India news are three most creditworthy news channels not in India even in whole of the globe.The creditability is so high that even the international community are dependent upon them to verify the news getting from other sources because of their unbiased , true & timely reporting

    • Prof M A Sofi

      What one gets to witness at Times Now Newshour program is morbid patriotism at its worst! Wonder why nobody- other than a handful of right thinking individuals like S. Varadarajan- is taking note of what are manifestly undemocratic & undignified ways of this holier-than-thou “I know it all’ sermoniser. India needs no enemies as long as such rambunctious, cantankerous guys are calling the shots. Acts more like a ‘lord of the ring’ than as a TV anchor. He owes an unqualified apology to the “Nation’.

  • Md Jawad

    I had a little respect for Arnab before the JNU incident.. but not anymore!

  • Ricardo Rodrigues

    Goswamy should be tried for inciting violence

    • ProgressForIndia

      Condemning others, whether rightly or wrongly, is not an incitation to violence.

      • dilip

        If it is not incitement – whether to violence or hatred – I don’t know what qualifies as incitement. Given the hooliganism on display in the court premises, I would assume any responsible person, let alone a professional journalist, to be aware of the danger of grave physical injury to students and accused persons, even under the custody of the police. Arnab is on record saying he does not believe in a convivial conversation. Convivial it need not be, but is there any conversation at all on his show? Is it right to condemn people on a nation wide TV show as if they are guilty of treachery etc and not even let them complete a single sentence? This is verbal hooliganism on a continental scale, not journalism. The violence is going on in full public view, but it is not an issue for our arch-patriot news-anchor. Its a shame and travesty of justice and fair play.

      • diwali

        oh shut up pls, there is a way to condemn and screaming is not the way. He should be tried for airing doctored evidence

      • diwali

        there is a way to condemn and screaming is not the way.

  • Kiran Chaturvedi

    Arnab had played a dangerous game and he knows the stakes too I am sure. He can use anybody and anything to stay on top of his game. And his master reward him for it. Just revealing his error, his duplicity is not going to be all we should do if we want to bring out the truth. We also have to deconstruct his method and his show for those who take it as facts and news.

  • Shankar Jain

    Great article. Clearing all doubts. Some media including TNow made use of doctored video and created public opinion against jnu and against muslims etc., This appears pre planned.

  • Sanjana Krishnan

    Could not agree more, Arnab has ran a media trial on Kanhaiya Kumar. He has even fueled the BJP to confidently take all the wrong decisions that they have, defending their unlawful crackdown on JNU and supporting them with his own brand of jingoism. Unfortunately the constitution gives him the right to speak his mind and even fuel such violence, yet he targets students who raise slogans against casteism, RSS and question the truly questionable decisions of the government. He is the a disgrace

  • Jitender Rastogi

    Thank god now mainstream journalists have reslised the power of internet and photshops.How it has been misued by many people
    for 15 long yrs . fake photos, fake history has been propogated in the internet and the mainstream journalists surprisingly consistently chose to ignore it
    But thank god after 16 years you have realized how the members of a particular party has been spreading lies over the internet. and by sheer lack of interest or ignorance journos and academics ignored internet as a medium. These members of a particular political party consistently spread lies without no one countering charges.
    I hope journalists have realized the power of internet and Photoshop with JNU incident.journalists were able to expose the designs of abvp. so please keep this thing up and be ready to expose any lies spread on the internet.
    Please now step the up the vigil.. do not ignore any fake Photoshopped pics spread on the net., please counter charge them and expose their lies with links to evidence.
    please attend 2 or 3 seminars, public meetings a few less and devote this saved time in the internet. internet is the new medium of propoganda in 21st century. Just as hitler used movies to spread his propaganda in 30’s and 40’s , in 21st century internet is being used in the same way to propogate lies.
    when you tell a lie 100 times and no one challenges it then it becomes a truth in the minds of people. For god’s sake from now on do not ignore internet.

  • Prabha Jagannathan

    I watched Arnab Goswami actually encourage Patra to hold up his tablet and show the video. He did, obligingly. On other occasions, when panellists with differing views hold up documents or videos, he slams down on them immediately. I watched with shock when only one panellist, a young lady who was often shouted down and humiliated and cowered down , objected. Arnab Goswami is a liar.

  • james007

    Oh boy…..I always new Arnab is irresponsible.

  • Abhishek Jain

    Not covering MALDA, Not covering south Asian games, Manufacture
    controversies, biased reporting, doctored/edited bytes to please
    political patronage and then they try to force their patriotism or
    Nationalism on us, HAVE YOUR VIEWS BUT DON’T FORCE IT ON US, you are not
    the ultimate truth, just one more human being. For Rajdeep’s (iamantiindian) and NDTV please do not preach us.

  • Saahil Sofat

    I am pained and appalled by the level of debate and reporting carried out by the leading news channels over the course of the past week.. This clearly shows that there is a clear bias among the media itself.. Suddenly criticizing anything at all makes us anti national.. This is a very dangerous trend and as a student i feel scared to where it is taking us as a country…..
    News channels having this level of debate specially “times now” (Among english channels) is just idiotic.. I am proud to be an indian and have no political inclining whatsoever…But as a citizen i have the right to know what is happening in my country and if this is how the news reporters are going to literally brainwash the public, it is a dangerous trend..
    I really want to know what can we as citizens do to make channels like Times now pay for all the misleading info they present …
    Can we do anything… ?

    P.S – The article was very insightful and very informative…

  • Bunty

    But how can you say it is still fabricated? It is in the court domain now. Until court verdict comes out we are not sure. May be the one shown on Air is doctored and the one the judge is viewing may be the authentic or it may be anything but we are all not sure. Therefore both you, me and Arnab and all others are just jumping the gun. Let us wait and see what Court says. why hurry. No MSM can be trusted. We are happy we have SN. because of so many avenues available in this internet world everybody can infer their own conclusions through lot of analysis.

  • Srinivas Natekar

    This Arnab Goswam is Anchor or using TV to express his own views. He never allows others to express opposite views. But he is allowing those who supports his views. That is a clear case of violating and not expressing “Freedom of Speech”. He should be exposed and punished for showing doctored Video because it supports his fancy stories.

  • Chandu

    It is ok everyone makes mistakes, but to deny it completely and produce another doctored video of the show as evidence just shows his intentions and arrogance. He has extracted as much as possible from the situation for own self popularity at the cost of others. As far as accountability goes he’ll not even say sorry. This is pathetic situation of this country where he is considered as the best news reporter with highly rated show

    • Bhogendra Thakur

      He and Modi have same traits.

  • Narrendiran

    Indian TV journalism is in bad shape. They don’t know which way to go. They do whatever it takes to sensationalize and make money out of it. Surprising that owners if the channel are mute spectators. Now war is not between JNU and government. It’s media vs media..shame Sir

  • Viswanathan

    What is the TRP of Arnab Goswami first and of TIMES NOW after showing the fake video on your NEWS HOUR.I was a regular watcher of this program and after this incident ,your cclaim that nobody needd teach me about journalism hs lost its value

  • Unknown

    “Papa kehte hain bada naam karega, beta hamari party ka bada kaam karega”…so arnab is just living the family dream, tsk tsk don’t judge him!!! We all want obedient children who pursue our dreams.

  • Pavithra

    And he has the nerve to call JNU students anti-nationals!!

  • diwali

    Fascism is slowly gaining ground in india

  • lisma52

    arnab was probably overexcited as usual. and impolite if not bullying in his usual style. nothing more. difficult to read incitement or conspiracy to violence or hatred . but yes arnab could have apologised . or let us say, not to hurt his super ego , clarified in a more decent way

  • johnson raju

    Sir please do file a case for defamation.. ‘Activist Journalists’ like goswami deserve to be called out and shamed

  • Ashish Varghese

    arnab jus knows how to scream nothing else………….doesnt let anyone speak………………..hes actually afraid if someone will bash up his words…………..i feel so pity for u arnab……..people know how to speak to people like u arnab but its there decency…………

  • Sastry Kuppa

    These days It does not take a hour of video to figure out whether somebody is wrong in the media. There is a Chinese principle that says the guy who shouts most is on the wrong side. Today’s media and the intellectuals who follow it (or get swayed by it) to judge innocent people is dishonest, corrupt, biased and every other negative word in dictionary. It is time to wake up. (not just India but the world around), how about a national protest to stop watching this non-sense until they air something of value to people and the world at large. (even if 24*7 media becomes 1 * 7 or even lesser). Our children deserves better than these anchors, channels and television.