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68 journalists, writers and bureaucrats were each given ₹2-5 lakh/month to write against PM Modi through Cambridge Analytica.

Postcard News ran a story claiming journalists were paid to write against PM Modi. The claim was found to be fake.

Postcard News ran a story claiming journalists were paid to write against PM Modi. The claim was found to be fake.A story published in 2018 by news website Postcard went viral. Postcard, which has a history of propagating misinformation and disinformation, accused 68 journalists, writers, and bureaucrats of taking bribes ranging from ₹2-5 lakh per month to write against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Postcard claimed that the money was arranged by UK-based Cambridge Analytica, which was at the center of the controversy on Russian interference in the 2016 US elections.

While the site does not mention any of the names in its story, several names had been shared with the story on WhatsApp, reported BoomLive, a fake new busting organization.

It revealed that Postcard was the only source of the claim that seemed to have come from a Twitter user, Prashant Umrao, who tweets from the handle @ippatel and had made this viral claim on Mar. 22, 2018, which is not available now. In a similar incident, senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai had filed a police complaint against Umrao in Feb. 2018, alleging that he had been spreading fake news on social media. In a tweet dated Jul. 28, 2012, Umrao had attributed a quote to Sardesai, in which the latter had reportedly called for ‘killing a 1000 Hindus’, reported Alt News.

Boom reported that Postcard claimed that the news was discussed on Republic TV, which said that many journalists were listed in the disclosed emails of Cambridge Analytica and that the story was not found on the Republic World website. Boom’s requests for comments to Cambridge Analytica and Republic to verify the story were not answered.

An investigation by TheQuint revealed that the names of the journalists whose names were circulated were misspelled. The organization also reached out to multiple people who were mentioned in the list, including Siddharth Varadarajan, Founding Editor, The Wire, Ravish Kumar, Senior Executive Editor at NDTV India, social activist Harsh Mander, Aakar Patel, former executive director at Amnesty India, all of whom flatly denied the claim and termed it fake news.

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