Lovlina hoardings: Assam DIPR files case against Guwahati news portal for publishing "fake news"
DIPR lodged the complaint about a video report that reportedly criticised Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa, Minister of Information/Public Relations Pijush Hazarika, and the Assam DIPR.
The Directorate of Information and Public Relations (DIPR), Assam has registered a case against a Guwahati-based news portal under Section 45A of the Information and Technology Act, alleging that the website had aired "fake news" in connection with the hoardings that featured Olympian boxer Lovlina Borgohain.
The director of DIPR urged Dispur police to take "legal action against the web portal" for the "dissemination of completely false and fabricated information designed to malign the images of innocent persons".
The DIPR lodged the complaint about a video news that reportedly criticised Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Minister of Information/Public Relations, Pijush Hazarika and the Assam DIPR.
The four-minute video titled "Was Pijush Hazarika subjected to warnings while trying to be Himanta Biswa Sarma's sycophant?" questioned the use of CM Sarma's photos on the hoardings that congratulated Olympian boxer Lovlina Borgohain on qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics, and another commemorating the death anniversary of Assam's first Chief Minister Gopinath Bordoloi.
The hoardings in question were first put up wishing luck to Olympian Borgohain for the Tokyo Olympics 2020. The second batch of banners congratulated the boxer for winning the bronze medal in the Women's Boxing welterweight category. However, none of the banners featured the face of Lovlina, instead, pictures of CM Sarma were imprinted on them.
In the other banner, the former chief minister Bordoloi's face was placed at the edge, with Sarma's occupying the majority of the space. The posters came under serious criticism from netizens who expressed their displeasure on social media.
Indian Boxer *Lovlina Borgohain* has entered Semi Finals ensuring an Olympic medal for India, the only question now is the color of the medal. For those who want to know *how she looks like*, here are some of the *billboards on display in Guwahati*! pic.twitter.com/wiY7ee9cxk— Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (@kiranshaw) August 3, 2021
Didn't know that Indian boxer Lovlina Borgohain's face looks like Assam CM Himanta Biswa and Bimal Borah. pic.twitter.com/JsbEeo0zrO— Anshul Saxena (@AskAnshul) August 2, 2021
However, on August 5, CM Sarma took to Twitter and clarified that he does not endorse "this kind of branding at all".
I do not endorse this kind of branding at all. Instruction has been issued not to use my picture from now onwards without prior approval of my office pic.twitter.com/Pl7p20IsxO— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) August 5, 2021
In response to Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw's post, Assam Cabinet Minister Pijush Hazarika said that the posters were unauthorised and that they were put up two weeks ago and have now been pulled down.
Dear ma’am, these unauthorized posters put up 2 weeks ago, were pulled down the moment it came to our notice. Unfortunate that you ignored the subsequent action.Will always look forward towards constructive criticism and engagement from you for the development of Assam and India https://t.co/qHVToMSHgZ— Pijush Hazarika (@Pijush_hazarika) August 3, 2021
Speaking to a national online news portal, Gautam Pratim Gogoi, news editor of the portal, argued that the video only raised some basic questions such as who put up the hoardings and how did the hoardings get installed without CM Sarma’s knowledge. He also informed that the video report has now been removed from the news portal's website and other social media websites.
Meanwhile, the DIPR has claimed that neither minister Hazarika nor the Information/Public Relations and Printing/Stationery Department is involved in publishing and erecting the hoardings. “The DIPR didn’t install the hoardings. The district administration and Ministry of Youth Welfare and Sports should know who put the hoardings up,” said a source in DIPR.
(Edited by Aparmita Das)
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