Malicious reporting against Akshay Kumar to derail his movie Airlift?

On 14th January, Catch News (which has Shoma Chaudhary, ex-collegaue of rape accused Tarun Tejpal and who is often accused of shielding Tejpal, as Editor in Chief) did a hit-job on the Akshay Kumar starrer Airlift. The news showed Akshay Kumar’s photo with Neeraj Pandey. Neeraj Pandey is not associated with the movie Airlift, still they showed a pic which had both Neeraj and Akshay. Are there no pics of Neeraj by himself?

The story said that Neeraj Pandey, director of Baby & Special 26 was asked to leave a theatre for not standing up during the national anthem. This is even more absurd as we know that Neeraj Pandey’s movies are usually patriotic and one does not expect such behaviour from him.

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But the person actually involved in this incident was a different person. This Neeraj Pandey is a screenwriter, and in no way connected to Director Neeraj Pandey and obviously not connected with Akshay Kumar. This fact was in public domain as Scroll had the correct facts a day earlier. Also stand-up comic Varun Grover had tweeted the same.

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The article was removed  the very next day but the Facebook post & tweet is still floating around. Additionally no corrigendum or apology was issued. And we all know few people read the news, most of us only share the headlines.

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Screenshot of Article before it was deleted

To recap, a writer called Neeraj Pandey is in trouble for not standing up during the National Anthem. CatchNews “confuses” him with Director Neeraj Pandey and further, to report this, uses his picture with Akshay Kumar. Even if this was a case of simple “confusion” between two people having the same name, Akshay Kumar should have never figured in this. But for some reason Akshay Kumar was dragged too, by using his picture.

Akshay Kumar is one of the few Bollywood superstars who has stood strongly against the Intolerance brigade. Unlike Shahrukh Khan, Akshay Kumar clearly said India is a tolerant country. And Shahrukh’s latest movie Dilwale bore the brunt of his “anti-India” comments. So was CatchNews.com trying to link Akshay Kumar to some “anti-national” news so that his film too suffers?

Further CatchNews.com never apologized for the error and even worse, kept the erroneous tweets and facebook status as it is even after deleting the story. Why? If they know the story is wrong, which is why they deleted the main story, why let the false tweets float around?

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