Viral Videos Spark Controversy and Arrests Amid IndianElections

Three people were arrested and 17 others, including a chief minister, were issued notices for sharing doctored videos of Indian politicians during the Lok Sabha elections. The spread of misinformation has sparked controversy, prompting the Delhi High Court to direct the Election Commission to address the issue.

Rafia Tasleem
New Update
Viral Videos Spark Controversy and Arrests Amid IndianElections

Viral Videos Spark Controversy and Arrests Amid IndianElections

As India's Lok Sabha elections continue, a surge of misinformation in the form of doctored videos has sparked controversy and led to multiple arrests. Three people have been arrested for sharing a manipulated video of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, while 17 others, including Telangana Chief Minister Revanth Reddy, have been issued notices to appear before the Delhi Police's Investigation Officer (IO) in connection with the case.

Why this matters: The spread of misinformation through deepfake videos can have a significant impact on the outcome of elections, potentially swaying public opinion and undermining the democratic process. If left unchecked, this phenomenon could erode trust in institutions and threaten the integrity of elections worldwide.

The doctored video showed Amit Shah saying that if the BJP comes to power, they will end reservations for Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), and Other Backward Classes (OBC). However, in the original video, Shah slammed religion-based reservations and called them unconstitutional. Another edited video featured UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath questioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his 'mangalsutra' remark. The original video showed Yogi criticizing Samajwadi Party leader Dimple Yadav's statement regarding the remark.

A viral video claiming former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray was insulted on stage by Congress workers was also manipulated. The original footage showed Congress workers and Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) candidate Amar Kale urging Thackeray to address the public for at least 15 minutes. Other misleading videos included a cropped clip of politician Kanhaiya Kumar asking people to embrace Islam, which was actually five years old, and a reel of PM Modi saying the BJP can never build a strong nation.

The spread of misinformation has prompted the Delhi High Court to direct the Election Commission of India (ECI) to swiftly address a plea to intervene and halt the proliferation of deepfake videos. Senior Advocate Jayant Mehta, representing the petitioners, highlighted the challenges associated with rapidly removing deepfake videos from online platforms and the consequent propagation of false information. Mehta emphasized the importance of the ECI reviewing videos posted by political parties and taking action within 24 hours to minimize harm during election campaigns.

In another shocking incident, a senior Congress leader, T. Jeevan Reddy, was caught on camera slapping an elderly woman during a campaign event in Telangana. The woman, a laborer under the rural employment guarantee scheme, expressed her intention to vote for the 'flower' symbol, citing that she had voted for Congress in the recent Assembly elections but was not receiving her pension. The incident has gone viral on social media, sparking outrage.

The proliferation of misinformation and manipulated videos during the Indianelectionshighlights the urgent need for swift action by authorities and social media platforms to combat the spread of false information. As the world's largest democracy continues its electoral process, ensuring the integrity of information and protecting voters from deception remains a critical challenge.

Key Takeaways

  • 3 arrested, 17 others summoned for sharing doctored videos of Indian politicians.
  • Manipulated videos can sway public opinion, undermine democratic process.
  • Deepfake videos show politicians making false statements, sparking controversy.
  • Delhi High Court directs Election Commission to address proliferation of deepfakes.
  • Authorities, social media platforms must act swiftly to combat misinformation.