This is how falsehood spreads

Bhrikuti Rai / April 28, 2017

On April 27, 2017 Indian news website published a piece about Nepal’s upcoming local election titled “In a first, Nepal likely to allow Indians to contest local body polls”.  After a few hours the website changed the headline to “In a first, Nepal likely to allow people of Indian origin to contest local body polls” and also changed “Indians” to “people of Indian origin” in the report.

However, by the time the changes were made several Nepali websites had already published the claim made by with headlines like these, “Indian media claims Indian nationals will be allowed to vote in Nepal after constitution amendment” and soon those stories were widely circulated in Nepali social media.

Disseminating false news

The news about Nepal’s local elections carried by News18 has glaring inaccuracies like Madhesis (whom the piece refers to as Nepalis of Indian origin) are getting to take part in polls for the first time. Never has any Nepali citizen living in the tarai been barred from voting in the elections or contesting the elections. In fact Nepal’s first president Ram Baran Yadav is from the tarai and several Madhesis have contested and won elections in the past. Similarly, the News18 piece has also has several discrepancies about the recent timeline of the constitution amendment and efforts made by Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led government to bring the Madhes-based parties on board the upcoming elections.

Despite these glaring inaccuracies in the News18 piece about Nepal, none of the Nepali media outlets that published reports based on the “claim” made by News18 have not attempted to debunk the falsehood and mention in their reports what actually is the current situation and the provisions on who can vote or contest the elections. As a result Nepali news outlets ended up disseminating the falsehood about Nepal exactly the way News18 carried it, leaving people sharing it on social media to form opinions based on it.


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