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HomeFact CheckFake and Edited Screenshot Of News Report Alleging Vandalism Around Hanuman Statue...

Fake and Edited Screenshot Of News Report Alleging Vandalism Around Hanuman Statue In Canada Goes Viral

Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

Ruby leads editorial, operations and initiatives at Newschecker. In her former avatar at New Delhi Television (NDTV), India’s leading national news network, she was a news anchor, supervising producer and senior output editor. Her over a decade-long career encompasses ground-breaking reportage from conflict zones and reporting on terror incidents, election campaigns, and gender issues. Ruby is an Emmy-nominated producer and has handled both local and international assignments, including the coverage of Arab Spring in 2011, the US Presidential elections in 2016, and ground reportage on the Kashmir issue since 2009.

Claim

News report states that “Numerous piles of human faeces appear in the area around the Hindu God statue in Brampton”.

The archived version of the tweet can be seen here. We received this claim on our Whatsapp tipline, too (9999499044), requesting us to fact-check it.

Fact

Newschecker first ran a keyword search for “Hanuman statue Brampton”, which led us to multiple media reports, seen here and here, stating that the Hindu Sabha Mandir in Brampton, Canada, is in the process of constructing a 55-foot-tall statue of the Hindu deity Hanuman, scheduled to be revealed in April next year to coincide with Hanuman Jayanti, which falls on April 23, 2024.

“A temple in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Canada, is enhancing vigilance after complaints and bigoted attacks on social media related to a giant statue of Lord Hanuman being constructed on its premises,” read an HT report, dated December 16, 2023, indicating that the viral screenshot could be one such attack. We did not find any news reports on the viral “headline” incident, further raising our doubts.

Newschecker saw that the purported report was authored by Denette Willford and the article was published on December 15, 2023, following which we ran a keyword search for “Denette Willford Hanuman statue Brampton”. We were led to this Toronto Sun report, dated December 15, 2023, written by Willford, with the headline reading, “Massive statue of Hindu god being built in Brampton”, contradicting the headline seen in the viral claim.

A comparison of the photo captions from the screenshot of the original article with the viral image shows that it is the same report that has been altered with a different headline. The report talks about the construction of the statue and the sculptor. There is no mention of any vandalism, which confirms that the viral screenshot was edited.

Screengrab of original report (left) and viral screenshot (right).

We have reached out to the Hindu Sabha Mandir and will update this story once we receive a response.

UPDATE ON 23/12/2023: Newschecker had also reached out to the Toronto Sun, whose editor-in-chief,  Adrienne Batra, said, “There is an appalling edited version of this article circulating online. It is a disturbing trend where online users edit content they disagree with, making it appear as original work from trusted media outlets. It is disappointing these online trolls took a positive story and twisted it into their filth.”

Also Read: Old Video Of Stage Collapse Falsely Claimed As Pakistani Imam Calling For Extermination Of Jews

Result: Altered media

Sources
Image analysis
Toronto Sun report, December 15, 2023


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Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

Ruby leads editorial, operations and initiatives at Newschecker. In her former avatar at New Delhi Television (NDTV), India’s leading national news network, she was a news anchor, supervising producer and senior output editor. Her over a decade-long career encompasses ground-breaking reportage from conflict zones and reporting on terror incidents, election campaigns, and gender issues. Ruby is an Emmy-nominated producer and has handled both local and international assignments, including the coverage of Arab Spring in 2011, the US Presidential elections in 2016, and ground reportage on the Kashmir issue since 2009.

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