Mohammed Zubair, a fact checker and co-founder of Alt News, has been honored with the Kottai Ameer Communal Harmony Award by the Tamil Nadu government for his dedicated efforts in promoting communal harmony through responsible reporting and fact-checking.
The recognition stems from Alt News’ fact-checking work on a viral video that falsely alleged migrant workers were facing attacks in Tamil Nadu.
Zubair originates from Krishnagiri district in Tamil Nadu.
The press release announcing the award stated, “His work helps to prevent the occurrence of violence in society likely to be caused by fake news. In March 2023, there was a rapid spread on social media that migrant workers were being attacked in Tamil Nadu. After verifying the authenticity of the video footage, he published on his website that the footage in the video posted on social media did not actually take place in Tamil Nadu and thus stopped the spread of rumours against Tamil Nadu and acted to prevent violence caused by caste, and religion. race and language in Tamil Nadu.”
The Kottai Ameer Communal Harmony is an award conferred to a native of Tamil Nadu for their outstanding services rendered to promote communal harmony.
The award is presented by the Chief Minister during the Republic Day celebration on January 26 every year.
In March 2023, false information circulated claiming that north Indian labourers were facing assault and murder in Tamil Nadu.
Legal actions were taken against individuals, including a BJP spokesperson, Hindi newspaper Dainik Bhaskar, right-wing propaganda website OpIndia, YouTubers, and Twitter users.
They were accused of spreading misleading videos of violence, falsely asserting that migrant workers were being attacked in Tamil Nadu.
Zubair has been involved in busting fake news propaganda by fact-checking ‘news’.
He is continuously targeted and attacked by right-wing machinery and the ruling regime- the Bhartiya Janata Party.
He was also arrested in an alleged case and rearrested over other cases filed against him in June 2020 but got bail in July 2022.