Hours after anti-CAA protester and United Against Hate (UAH) member Umar Khalid was arrested in connection with the Delhi riots investigation, English news channel Times Now ran an “exclusive” bulletin, anchored by Editor-in-Chief Rahul Shivshankar, claiming that activists defending Khalid spoke about “his alliance with outfits” and admitted that it was a “dangerous one” in a private chat.
For context, Shivshankar added that “Khalid is accused of conspiring with Khalid Saifi to raise funds from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) designated hate group the Popular Front of India (PFI).”
However, what Shivshankar called a “secret admission” and “accessed by Times Now” is actually a webinar which is available in the public domain and was hosted on 16 August by Pedestrian Pictures, a media activist organisation.
WHAT DID TIMES NOW PLAY?
After his over four minute long monologue, Shivshankar plays the video to prove that the activists including Teesta Setalvad spoke about PFI being a dangerous organisation in a “private chat” accusing them of doublespeak.
“In private they admit that the PFI is a dangerous organisation so it should stand to reason that Umar Khalid’s ties with that organisation couldn’t be national interest,” Shivshankar added.
He then plays a part of the webinar in which Zia Nomani, a member of Swaraj India, can be heard saying, “What we are missing is the right wing rise of the SDPI and PFI. And the crowd that was mobilised in Bengaluru for DJ Halli and the crowd that went to KG Halli and burnt down the Dalit MLA’s house, were undoubtedly the members of SDPI and PFI.”
Nomani goes on to add that these two organisations should be prosecuted. The channel also played a part of Setalvad’s comments where she says “SDPI and PFI remain problematic”.
The story was also picked up by OpIndia.
Now, these comments were made in a webinar, and there is no secrecy or doublespeak as claimed by Times Now.
TIMES NOW BIG EXCLUSIVE IS A WEBINAR
We could find the link of the webinar on Pedestrian Pictures’ Facebook page which was aired live on the platform on 16 August at 5:08 pm.
Reclaiming Freedom of Speech and Liberty in Times of Intensified State Aggression and Repression. We are live.Posted by Pedestrian Pictures on Sunday, August 16, 2020
Both, Nomani and Setalvad can be heard making these comments at around 2 hours 43 minutes into the discussion which was titled ‘Reclaiming Freedom of Speech and Liberty in Times of Intensified State Aggression and Repression’.
Further, the organisation had put up an invite for the webinar on its Facebook page on 12 August.
Pedestrian pictures Weekend screening Fabricated directed by K P Sasi from 14th August 2020 Friday , 6 PM onwards- For...Posted by Pedestrian Pictures on Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Evidently, Times Now played a publicly available Zoom webinar live as an “exclusive” tape accessed by the channel where the activists could be seen speaking against the SDPI and PFI.
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