16/10/2017 11:23 AM IST | Updated 16/10/2017 11:39 AM IST

ANI Publishes Fake News About Possible Rohingya Attack In Nagaland, Apologises

The copy editor who published the story has been sacked.

Jorge Silva / Reuters
Rohingya refugees arrive at a beach after crossing from Myanmar, in Teknaf, Bangladesh October 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Indian news agency ANI published a fake news story on Thursday, 12 October, claiming that the Nagaland police's intelligence branch has warned against a possible attack by Rohingya refugees. The story, quoting unnamed "intelligence sources", claimed that the Imam of Dimapur was contacting Rohingya rebels to bring arms and ammunition from Bangladesh to attack people of Nagaland.

The story has been taken down after it was found to be fake news. ANI editor Smita Prakash released a statement on Twitter in response to AltNews' story calling out the news agency for the error. She said that the copy editor who had "pushed ahead" the story was no longer part of the organisation.

The Morung Express was the first to point out that the agency had published fake news that had been in circulation over social media In Nagaland. AltNews reported that the story was later picked up by some national news organisations.

"We have installed stricter editorial firewalls for stories and do regret the entire sequence of events that led to it's dissemination," tweeted Prakash, attributing the "oversight" to the "daily rush of the newscycle [sic]".

ALSO READ: 10 Instances That Show A Fake News Explosion Is Taking Place In India

Fake news is commonly circulated in India over Whatsapp. Even Indian politicians have been known to spread fake news without bothering to cross-check their sources before transmitting it further in social media to their sizeable followers. Even national television channels have been known to air such 'news'.

While a handful of websites are attempting to keep a check on such misinformation, the spread of such fake news has even resulted in deaths in India.

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