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News 18 portrays an innocent Indian kid as ISIS Chief

“It worries me as to how disastrous has Indian media become these days,” said Arif.

A Hindi channel projected Indian boy as young Abubakar al-Baghdadi, the terrorist who heads ISIS. Saudi family of Indian origin boy  reacted with anger for erroneously projecting their child as a terrorist.

News18 India, the Hindi channel and part of the Network 18 media group, ran a special broadcast focusing on the life of Al-Baghdadi on Friday. In order to gain ratings, the media claimed to have got hold of every detail of Baghdadi’s hidden past, that had been unreported by any media so far.

Haadsa (accident),  a crime show anchored by Digvijay Singh, promised to expose every hidden secret of Baghdadi. The said programme, was posted on the channel’s website on 1 April with a Hindi headline:

“How this lecturer turned into the ISIS chief”

The programme portrayed Baghdadi’s childhood with a young boy in Islamic attire and Islamic cap briskly walking somewhere in a Gulf country. However, the child in the video happens to be the son of a Indian origin family residing in Saudi Arabia, also a student of International Indian School in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The clip of the boy used by News 18 was illegally cropped from a short film shot in 2015. The film was made as part of their educational project by a group of students from International Indian School in Jeddah.

Daud Arif, who too studied from the IISJ, took to Facebook to highlight the issue accusing the channel of indulging in unethical means to portray an innocent child as a terrorist.

“News 18 India used Clips from a short film produced by my juniors in Saudi. They used it to portray the childhood of the ISIS founder Baghdadi. The kid in this clip is a junior of mine playing the role of a normal Indian Muslim. It worries me as to how disastrous has Indian media become these days,” Arif said in his facebook post.

People expressed their anger on News 18 using hashtag #News18learnethics.

Arif said: ” I am in touch with the child’s family in Jeddah and they are in the process of writing to the channel and the regulatory body, the NBSA”

He said, “We are writing to the channel to immediately correct their mistake by first removing the video from all internet platforms and issue unconditional apology on the channel. We will write to the NBSA if we are not satisfied with the channel’s response. We are also exploring legal options to mount a defamation claim seeking significant financial compensation.”

Several attempts have been made by the family to contact the News18 channel for their response but, all in vain.