Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV and NDTV have mistaken a dead Shiv Sena leader as alive while publishing a story on properties won in lottery being returned for bad vaastu. This was after both media outlets carried a story on Vinod Shirke, a local Shiv Sena leader from South Mumbai, deciding to return his Rs 5.8-crore flat in Cumballa Hill’s Dhavalgiri high rise that he had recently won in a lottery by the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority.
While the story was factually correct, many eagle-eyed journalists on social media were quick to point out that the image used by both Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV and NDTV, Goswami’s former employer, had mistaken Shirke as Anand Dighe, who died in 2001.
While carrying the photo of late Anand Dighe as Vinod Shirke, the NDTV website credited the photo to the latter’s Facebook page. It said, “image credit: facebook.com/Vinod.Vishnu.Shirke.” It seems that the image of Anand Dighe, used as profile photo on Vinod Shirke’s Facebook page was mistaken as being his own image.
However, a cursory browsing of Shirke’s Facebook profile reveals that the image used as his profile photo is not his but of the late Shiv Sena leader. Shirke’s page is replete with his party activities, where he can be seen with other top Shiv Sena functionaries. Here’s one photo, where he’s being greeted by his party workers at a function. The photo’s caption reads, “Many many happy returns of the day to my friend Vinod Vishnu Shirke.”
Other media outlets did appear to exercise caution as they carried the correct photo of Shirke. This is how the DNA website carried the story on Shirke, using his correct image.
It’s surprising that outlets such as Republic TV and NDTV with huge editorial resources available at their disposal in Mumbai can make such gaffes. One of the basic rules in digital journalism is that, when in doubt, you use a representational image for your story.
50-year-old Anand Dighe had died in 2001 due to a heart attack. His supporters had set the hospital in Thane on fire, where Dighe was under treatment.