India ruling party official to sue critical news website

Oct 27, 2022, 10:32 PM | Updated: Oct 28, 2022, 1:09 am
A visitor makes an enquiry standing outside the office of The Wire, an independent local news websi...

A visitor makes an enquiry standing outside the office of The Wire, an independent local news website, in New Delhi, India, Friday, Oct. 28, 2022. Amit Malviya, who is the IT head of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, said he would file civil and criminal charges against The Wire after it reported in a now-retracted story that Meta, the U.S.-based social media giant, granted him extraordinary powers to censor Instagram posts. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

(AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

NEW DELHI (AP) — An official from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party said he would file civil and criminal charges against an independent local news website after it reported in a now-retracted story that Meta, the U.S.-based social media giant, granted him extraordinary powers to censor Instagram posts.

Amit Malviya, who is the IT head of the BJP, said Thursday he will sue the news website The Wire for publishing “forged documents with a view to malign and tarnish my reputation.”

Malviya’s planned legal action comes after The Wire, known for its critical reporting on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, wrote a series of sensational stories this month that claimed Malviya had been granted special powers by Meta to take down posts on Instagram without any input from the company’s content moderators.

To back this up, The Wire published screenshots of internal reports and emails it said it had accessed from sources within Meta. But former Meta employees and whistleblowers, tech experts in India and Silicon Valley, and Meta itself said the claims were untrue and questioned the authenticity of the evidence.

“We accept scrutiny of our content decisions, but we fundamentally reject these false allegations based on what we believe to be fabricated evidence. We hope that The Wire is the victim of this hoax, not the perpetrator,” Meta said in a statement.

Nonetheless, The Wire doubled down and followed up with more stories claiming the internal emails it had accessed were true, even though independent technical experts continued to cast doubts on its findings and said the documents it made public appeared to be forged.

Amid mounting criticism, The Wire last week retracted its articles and opened an internal review of its reporting and editorial processes. The news website said it had found inconsistencies in its stories but stopped short of saying they were fabricated.

On Thursday, however, the publication posted a public apology on its website and said that one unnamed member of its staff had deceived the organization and that it lacked the expertise to vet technical stories.

“To have rushed to publish a story we believed was reliable without having the associated technical evidence vetted independently is a failure of which we cannot permit repetition,” The Wire said in a statement.

The news website also said it would conduct a thorough review of previous reporting done by “the technical team involved in our Meta coverage” and remove the stories from public view until that process is complete.

The Wire’s stories had fueled growing concerns in India about digital privacy and the government’s efforts to tightly control the internet, and at least one opposition party had said it would discuss the issue in Parliament.

Meanwhile, media watchdog The Editors Guild of India on Friday said it was “disturbed” by the events and urged Indian newsrooms to “resist the temptation of moving fast on sensitive stories.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Laborers cheer at a fan festival at the Asian Town cricket stadium in Doha, Qatar, Friday, Nov. 25,...
Associated Press

On outskirts of Doha, laborers watch World Cup they built

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Far from Doha’s luxury hotels and sprawling new World Cup stadiums, scores of South Asian workers poured into a cricket ground in the city’s sandy outskirts to enjoy the tournament they helped create. Unlike the official FIFA fan zone near Doha’s pristine corniche, this one has no $14 beer or foreign […]
8 hours ago
Residents line up for COVID-19 tests in Beijing, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)...
Associated Press

Xinjiang loosens some restrictions after lockdown protests

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Authorities in China’s western Xinjiang region opened up some neighborhoods in the capital of Urumqi on Saturday after residents held extraordinary late-night demonstrations against the city’s draconian “zero-COVID” lockdown that had lasted more than three months. The displays of public defiance were fanned by anger over a fire in an apartment […]
8 hours ago
FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a news conference at the Broward County Courthouse i...
Associated Press

New state voter fraud units finding few cases from midterms

WASHINGTON (AP) — State-level law enforcement units created after the 2020 presidential election to investigate voter fraud are looking into scattered complaints more than two weeks after the midterms but have provided no indication of systemic problems. That’s just what election experts had expected and led critics to suggest that the new units were more […]
8 hours ago
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen casts her ballots at a polling station in New Taipei City, Taiwan, Sa...
Associated Press

Taiwan president resigns as party leader after election loss

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen resigned as head of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party following local election losses on Saturday suffered by her party. Voters in Taiwan overwhelmingly chose the opposition Nationalist party in several major races across the self-ruled island in an election in which lingering concerns about threats from China […]
8 hours ago
In this picture released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supre...
Associated Press

Iran leader praises force tasked with quashing protests

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iran’s supreme leader praised paramilitary volunteers tasked with quashing dissent on Saturday in a televised address as dozens of eye doctors warned that a rising number of demonstrators have been blinded by security forces during anti-government protests. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed members of the Basij, the volunteer paramilitary wing of the elite […]
8 hours ago
FILE - The Twitter logo is seen on a mobile phone, Oct. 14, 2022, in Boston. Social media platforms...
Associated Press

Musk plans to relaunch Twitter premium service, again

Elon Musk said Friday that Twitter plans to relaunch its premium service that will offer different colored check marks to accounts next week.
8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
India ruling party official to sue critical news website