A tweet by TOLO news -Afghanistan’s foremost news channel- announcing the death of their staff member, journalist Ziar Khan Yaad was liked and retweeted hundreds of times within a short span of time on the morning of 26th August.
Originally posted in Farsi/Persian, a translation of the post by Google reads “TOLO news reporter killed by Taliban in Kabul”.
Twitter users including Indian news agency ANI, retweeted the death of Yaad quoting TOLOnews. ANI’s tweet was further retweeted over 800 times within the first few hours.
The claim made by TOLOnews was refuted on Twitter by a post made from the official account of the same journalist in the photograph, Ziar Khan Yaad.
The post said that while he was indeed beaten up by the Taliban in Kabul, the news of his death was false.
Yaad’s tweet came minutes after TOLOnews announced his death. He further wrote on Twitter, “I still don’t know why they behaved like that and suddenly attacked me. The issue has been shared with Taliban leaders; however, the perpetrators have not yet been arrested, which is a serious threat to freedom of expression.”
Following the clarification of Yaad, TOLOnews posted further details of the incident saying, ”TOLOnews reporter Ziar Yaad and his cameraman were beaten by Taliban in #Kabul city while they were working on a report on Wednesday.”
Native Farsi speakers also pointed out that this confusion about the reporter’s death had arisen due to incorrect translation done by Google from Persian to English. Among them was BBC’s South Asia bureau chief Nicola Careem who wrote, “Warning – the google translation of this tweet is incorrect. The correct translation is “Taliban BEATEN Tolo news reporter in Kabul”,” on Twitter.
The news of the death of Ziar Khan Yaad is false. The tweets posted on the death of the journalist were based on an erroneous translation done automatically on the post by Google.
The tweet from journalist Ziar Khan Yaad: https://twitter.com/ziaryaad/status/1430769985702535170?s=20
BBC’s Nicola Careem’s tweet: https://twitter.com/NicolaCareem/status/1430768821690769414?s=20
TOLOnews’s tweet adding further details on the status of the journalist: