Facebook page of Postcard News deleted: Mahesh Vikram Hegde-headed propaganda website is known for spreading fake news

FP Staff

The Facebook page of Postcard News, an Indian media website known for peddling fake news, has been removed. When Firstpost tried to access the website's Facebook page, a message saying, "The page you requested was not found," appeared on the screen.

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Postcard News' Twitter account earlier mentioned a URL to a Facebook page called, "Ye Public Hai Sab Janti Hai", but clicking on it gives an error message. "This page isn't available The link you followed may be broken, or the page may have been removed," a message on Facebook page reads.

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The move comes nearly two and a half months after its founder Mahesh Vikram Hegde was arrested by the Bengaluru Crime Branch in March for spreading the fake news that a group of Muslims attacked a Jain monk.

The arrest was made after a case was registered against him at Cyber Crime Police Station in Bengaluru. He was booked under Section 66 of the Information Technology Act and under Sections 153A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Several BJP leaders including Union minister Anant Kumar Hegde had jumped to his defence and began a #ReleaseMaheshHegde campaign on social media sites at the time.

According to The News Minute, Postcard News had published a status message on 13 March on social media stating that a Jain monk who had come for the Shravanabelagola festival was attacked by Muslim youth.

Hegde and the website have often come under fire for spreading fake news. On 2 July, 2018, Hegde claimed on Twitter that 96 percent of rape accused in the country were Muslims and that 96 percent of the victims were Hindus in the years 2016-18. The tweet reportedly received 1,200 retweets. According to BoomLive, it was falsely attributed to the National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB) which does not publish religion-wise data.

On 21 June, 2018, Hegde tweeted an old image of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chief Yasin Malik's arrest as a fresh one. While the JKLF chief had been detained, the image was from  21 July, 2017, when the separatist leader was arrested while leading a protest outside the United Nations office in Srinagar, reported The Print.

The propaganda website on 5 February, 2018 claimed that Christian groups in Tamil Nadu had entered temples in Madurai and staked their claim on the property. Quoting no official sources, the website suggested that Christian missionaries were trying to convert Hindu temples into churches. However, when BoomLive spoke to the local police, it disputed the news and said that the news was "spread with malicious intent" to create friction between the two communities who have been "living peacefully for several decades".

On 20 March, 2017, Postcard News published an article with the headline: "BBC News Point releases names of 10 most corrupt political parties in the world 2017, Check which party from India is named most corrupt!". The article claimed that the Congress was the fourth most corrupt party in the world, according to AltNews. However, a BBC reporter Geeta Pandey tweeted the article and said that the British media company never conducted such a survey. The link to the article now shows a 404 Error.

In August 2016, the website published a rumour from Twitter that journalist Barkha Dutt rode with former Hizbul Mujahideen commander Zakir Musa, according to Scroll. The report emerged after Dutt posted a photo of her riding pillion with an unidentified man while reporting from Jammu and Kashmir. While Dutt claimed that she was given a lift after her car broke down and curfew left her stranded in the Valley, Postcard News juxtaposed a grainy image of Dutt's rider and Musa, saying it was a match.

 

 

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