Social media users shared a screengrab claiming it to be that of a news report by Indian fact-checking outlet Vishvas News. The screengrab showed the outlet reporting that the general election results were in favour of former Prime Minister and CPN UML chair KP Sharma Oli. It further claimed a special [Indian] task force had been deployed to Nepal.
On November 18, 2022, Twitter user @sunsaribaraha posted a screenshot of what appeared to be a fact-check from Vishvas News. The screenshot was accompanied by a caption in Nepali: “What is this? What is being done to the country and the UML? Who will be held accountable for this? Indian forces are being mobilized to stop KP Oli and UML?”
“Fact Check: Election result favors KP Oli: Indian special task force arrives in Nepal,” the headline of the altered image read.
The following is the Hindi text’s translation into English:
New Delhi (Vishvas News): In light of the Prachanda-Deuba coalition’s dismal performance in the elections taking place [on November 20, 2022] in Nepal, India has dispatched a special team to work covertly there. India will stop at nothing to prevent Oli from taking power.
India had formed the five-party coalition government led by Deuba. India wants the current coalition to form the next government. Sometime back, Prachanda and Arzu Rana (Prime Minister Deuba’s wife) visited India and vowed to settle the issues around the Citizenship Bill and border disputes in India’s best interest. The Deuba government pushed ahead with the Citizenship Bill as soon as Prachanda returned. But President [Bidhya Devi] Bhandari, who was close to Oli, blocked it. Vishvas News found in its investigation that KP Oli will form a new government. India wants to settle the Citizenship Bill and Kalapani-Lipulek border disputes [with Nepal], requiring the Deuba-Prachanda alliance government to do so.
This text appears underneath the headline of the manipulated image: “Updated: November 17, 2022.” Two fact-checks that claim to represent the work of Vishvas News can be seen on the right side of the screenshot. At the bottom of the screenshot are five partially discernible letters. Additionally, it purports to display icons of social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Messenger. The screenshot, however, contains several grammatical and linguistic errors.
We found no such article on Vishvas News’ official website. We also Googled the headline of the viral screenshot. But we could not find the content as stated in the viral posts. We then examined the fact-checks published by Vishvas News on November 17. On that day, the outlet published six fact-checks, none containing any information on the Indian Special Task Force or Nepal’s general elections.
After reviewing the fact-checks published on Vishvas News, we found the majority of them contain an image following the headline. However, the viral screenshot shows text after the headline without any photos. The five letters partly visible in the viral screenshot can be discerned as “Kya Ho Raha Hai Viral” [What’s viral? (See link here and here). The viral screenshot could have been captured using one of these reports.
Similarly, six icons placed for instant sharing on Vishvas News’ website are on the same line. In the screenshot that went viral, they are in two lines. This also proves that the viral screenshot is manipulated.
We also contacted Vishvas News via their WhatsApp number. When we sent them a link to the viral screenshot, Vishvas News said the content was not theirs.
Nepal Check has therefore determined that the screenshot is altered. The website of Vishvas News has no record of a fact-check about the general elections in Nepal.
|Claim||Claimed by||Nepal Check Verdict|
|Vishvas News, an Indian fact-checking outlet, published a fact-check saying a special task force was dispatched to Nepal to rig the November 20 election.||Twitter users||Misleading|
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