Exclusive: Zakir Naik breaks silence on fake news of his deportation with video message, slams Times Now, NDTV and ABP News among others

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Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik has slammed the Indian channels that carried the fake news of his deportation from Malaysia. In a video message exclusively sent to Janta Ka Reporter, the Islamic preacher sarcastically thanked Times Now, Republic TV, NDTV and ABP News for the fakes news on his deportation.

Zakir Naik

He said, “I would like to thank Times Now channel, Republic TV, NDTV, ABP News and various other news channels and newspapers for publishing a false news against me, two days before on 4 July. Most of the Indian news channels and newspapers published and broadcast that Dr Zakir Naik has been arrested in Malaysia and he’s going to be deported tonight i.e. the night of 4 July. And now it’s been proved without any doubt that it was a fake news.”

“And to give authenticity to this fake news, Times Now even went to the extent of saying that the prime minister of India Narendra Modi, his main purpose to visit Malaysia was to deport Dr Zakir Naik. NDTV even gave the name of the police officer, who told them that Dr Zakir Naik is going to be deported and later on they removed the name,” Naik added.

Naik also went on to highlight that the fake news broadcast on Indian channels on 4 July was a shining example of how media in India sensationalised news to give legitimacy to their fake agenda. “Both these news channels (NDTV and Times Now) competed with each other claiming that they broke the news first. ABP News went to the extend of saying that Zakir Naik will be in India in next 6-7 hours. This is how they sensationalise the issue and they make the reader and the viewer believe that it is a fact,” he said.

The Islamic preacher sought to remind that this was exactly two years ago on 4 July 2016 since when the media in India had been ‘hounding’ him. “Why they have been doing this, I don’t know. I can think of two reasons. One there can be TRP. Second, there may be financial reasons. You may be aware that Cobrapost, it had done a sting operation on 35 media houses. And these news channels had agreed to publish anything as long as they get money.”

Naik’s video has emerged amidst Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Friday announcing that he will not be deported to India.

In their sensational broadcast on Wednesday last week, Times Now and NDTV had claimed that Naik was going to be deported back to India. Notable among those channels, who had enthusiastically flashed the news of Naik’s deportation to India were Times Now and NDTV. Both channels had quoted unnamed sources to substantiate their claims. Times Now in particular had created an incredibly dramatic scenes on air when its editor-in-chief quickly praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi by calling it a ‘watershed moment’ for Indian diplomacy under him.

Shivshankar had thundered, “Absolutely. Massive! This is a massive moment. In India’s diplomacy, it’s a watershed moment.” He then went on to chant ‘massive’ at least four times before describing Naik’s alleged linkages to men, who had committed acts of terrorism. This, he announced, will change now since ‘people will realise that there are consequences.” Shivshankar’s euphoria did not end here. He was unstoppable as he went to use ‘massive’ one more time. “He will face the full measure of the law viewers. And this will send out a massive message,” Shivshankar announced in excitement before he turned to his colleague, who he said, “Now Srinjoy, Zakir Naik is coming in from a country with which we have good ties. The prime minister has been meeting Mahathir, the prime minister of Malaysia. He even praised Mahathir Mohamad recently. And today we have a situation where Zakir Naik could be in our hand.”

A report by NDTV had quoted an unnamed Malaysian source as saying, “He( Naik) is out of the country tonight. He will be taking a flight to India today I believe.”

Ironically, none of these channels have issued an apology for misleading their audience so spectacularly. This despite the fact that both the NIA and the MHA had denied receiving any inputs from Malaysian agencies on the reported extradition of Naik.

Misleading the audience in India seems to have acquired legitimacy, thanks to rampant unethical practices by channels, but this isn’t the same in developed democracies around the world. UK, for example, treats misleading of audience very seriously and regularly imposed hefty financial fines on broadcasters. In 2008, the BBC was fined nearly Rs 4 croreafter the regulator found its guilty of misleading the audience.

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