Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Asianet Suvarna News identifies India’s Muslim population with Pakistan flag, Hindus with Indian flag, issues apology later

Asianet Suvarna News used the Pakistani flag to represent the Muslim population in India and the Indian flag to represent the Hindu population during a show that aired on May 9, in an episode titled ‘Hindu Population Has Decreased, Muslim Population Has Increased Enormously.’

The channel, which joined the anti-Muslim campaign started by Hindu nationalist social media users and BJP/RSS leaders abusing Muslims in India following the release of a report by the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) that showed a slight dip in the Hindu population share in India between 1950 and 2015, while the Muslim population share increased, later apologized for the incident, claiming it was an “oversight.”

The EAC-PM report and subsequent media coverage were criticized by experts, rights activists, and think tanks such as the Population Foundation of India. The Population Foundation of India expressed deep concern over recent media reports that misreported findings from the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister’s study, “Share of Religious Minorities: A Cross-Country Analysis (1950-2015),” to spread alarm about the growth of the Muslim population in India. “Such interpretations are not only inaccurate but also misleading and baseless,” stated PFI, an independent think tank focusing on population trends and reproductive/sexual health.

The channel has been linked to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar.

While debating about the alleged increase in the Muslim population, a graphic was aired on screen in which the Hindus were identified using an Indian flag while the Muslims were identified with a Pakistan flag. After facing backlash, the graphic was later changed to generic Hindu and Muslim symbols.

“The same graphics plate that was prepared to explain the population growth and decline of India-Pakistan majority communities was used to explain the growth/decline of Hindu-Muslim communities in India. It is an oversight without malice. It was fixed within seconds as soon as it was noticed by the team. The Asianet Suvarna News team expresses deep regret for the oversight,” the channel said in a statement.


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