An Attempt To Justify False Reports In Cybersecurity and Why Is It Damaging?

Reuters otherwise celebrated journalists, Raphael Satter,Christopher Bing, and Jack Stubbshave finally led to Reuters tasting its own medicine.

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On December 7th, 2022,  Heather Carpenter, Senior Director, Communications with Reuters, has assertively asked for the removal of an article exposing Reuters about its irresponsible reporting on grounds of inaccuracy and fabrication. A prestigious Californian newspaper which had originally published an article “how-reuters-deliberately-attempted-to-report-a-piece-of-news-impacted-an-innocent-man” on November 30, 2022 further published the mail as an update giving grounds of representation to Reuters but nullifying the request to remove the article altogether. The paper also shared the response of the counterpart on January 6th, 2023, providing all substantial evidence supporting the story published. Finally, blowing up all efforts of Reuters deliberate cover up.

How Reuters failed in adhering to its principles of Trust, Privacy, Accuracy and Freedom of Expression?

It has been noted that this isn’t the first time Reuters has failed in adhering to the core journalistic principles. It has certainly happened numerous times but this time Reuters has to face real ramifications.

On June 9, 2020, an exclusive story was published by Reuters “Exclusive: Obscure Indian cyber firm spied on politicians, investors worldwide”. The story was caught in the fury of an Indian paper. The Indian paper questioned the picture of a small business man Mr. Kumar who was  projected as an alleged hacker Mr. Gupta and also published a story about it on 29th June, 2020.It is interesting to note that Reuters took weeks to remove the incorrect picture which was not taken from an online source like other photo goof-ups instead, it was physically taken by a reporter from Reuters itself.

In its defence, Reuters cooked up a story that the wrong picture was taken by someone on ground which was not Raphael Satter, Christopher Bing, and Jack Stubbs due to mistaken identity the cause of which was same address of both Mr. Gupta and Mr.Kumar, going by the Indian business records.

The weak defence by Reuters was blown by various articles published by sites such as Disrupt news, Big News, Know world now, Myrtle beach, Vent magazine, Manchester News,  Prophecy news, USA Wire, and many others. All of these papers exposed the cover up deliberated by Reuters by presenting the real chain of events.

As per the ground reports presented by these courageous small voices, Mr. Kumar was not present in his office when his picture was taken. As per the statement given by him to the Indian paper he was bothered by a “foreigner” who took his picture calling him Mr. Gupta. As per the statement given, Mr. Kumar kept on defying that he is not Mr. Gupta and even showed his identity proof to prove the same. All this happened when he was outside the building of his office.

All these statements clearly suggest that Senior Director, Communication at Reuters is either misled or is too desperate to get the story removed when he wrote to the Californian paper stating “he was inside of his office and at his request, our photographer waited outside for him. He did not produce proof of identity, as your post says.”

Reuters fell back on the point that “According to Indian business records, Kumar’s business is at the same address as Belltrox.” Someone having the most basic information about using internet can search find that both addresses are in the same locality but in different buildings. Mr. Kumar’s office named “Newzet retail pvt ltd” is in Agarwal Plaza and Mr.Gupta’s office Belltrox is in Vardhaman Plaza.

It is important to note that by asking a paper to remove evidence backed content is itself a breach of Freedom of expression that is given no due respect by the Senior Director, Communications at Reuters itself.

Reuters failed big time in preserving the trust the readers place on it by publishing the picture submitted by a ground reporter without verifying it. The accuracy of information published by Reuters stands questioned greatly after this incident.

Reuters barely paid any attention to the breached privacy of Mr. Kumar in all respects, who still has been showcased as a hacker by various web links after Reuters published his picture.

Reuters irresponsible stance

Even now Reuters is escaping to take responsibility for the deliberate inaccurate reporting by its three journalists, Raphael Satter, Christopher Bing, and Jack Stubbs . The mail by the Senior Director, Communications at Reuters for removing a content further suggests how Reuters is trying to curb the story by implying pressure which may have been its long lasting approach to silence any voices against its irresponsible reporting and the damage it had caused.

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