Press Trust of India (PTI) is a popular news agency in our country, which syndicates news to a majority of media houses within our country and also outside India. Not many people know that PTI does not have many field reporters, but the local media journalists contribute news to the agency.
Since media in Andhra Pradesh is dominated by journalists from Andhra region, a lot of PTI news about Telangana are invariably anti-Telangana in tone.
Thousands of media houses simply copy-paste news reports from PTI, and therefore any anti-Telangana news gets amplified thousands of times.
Here is a latest example of how a PTI report misinterprets a media advisory from US Consulate in Hyderabad.
The misinformation campaign by PTI started thus:
On January 24, 2013, the US Consulate in Hyderabad issued a routine “Demonstration Notice” to US citizens. It read “Multiple events associated with upcoming religious and national holidays, a possible decision on the Telangana statehood issue, and recent arrests of local political leaders may result in large gatherings or demonstrations throughout the city through to February 4, 2013. “
As you can easily understand, the notice was about several things, and ‘a possible decision on Telangana statehood’ was one among them. But, PTI newsfeed tried to paint as if the notice itself was about Telangana. And anti-Telangana media houses like Deccan Chronicle splashed this news on their newspapers prominently.
Image: A screeshot of Deccan Chronicle news site
For the uninformed, US Consulates located worldwide, issue such notices on a regular basis. And there is nothing alarming or serious about it. In fact, such a travel advisory is issued for even routine events such as New Year.
The Hyderabad Consulate itself had issued 6 such notices in the last 6 months for even minor issues such as “Traffic Restrictions for President’s Visit to Hyderabad on December 26, 2012″
“Traffic Restrictions due to Bathukamma Festival from October 16-24, 2012″
But, the same PTI never thought those notices as newsworthy.
Here’s a screenshot that shows the list of Demonstration Notices issued By Hyderabad US Consulate, from their website:
Image: A screeshot of US Consulate Hyderabad site