With India waking up to news of the Indian Air Force bombing JeM terror camps at Balakot in Pakistan in the early hours of February 26, multiple news channels have broadcasted a video, purported to be of IAF jets inside Pakistani territory.
“What you see on your screens right now is the Pakistani Air Force scrambling post the IAF multiple jets going in and striking jaish camps. The extent of damage right now we dont know, but what we have are first pictures, this is first footage of the aftermath we are told, of the strike“, says the News18 anchor in the above video clip.
The footage has been broadcasted by several news channels, including India Today, Economic Times, Aaj Tak, Times Now and News18. The video has also been relayed by the JioTV Twitter handle.
The video shows a fighter jet deploying flares. It has been used extensively as ‘real’ footage of the cross-border operation carried out by the Indian Air Force against Pakistani territory. “On your screens right now, the big picture, the big video that India Today has accessed of one of these jets dropping bombs, dropping 1000 kilogram bombs at 3:30 am on JeM terror camps in Balakot area. This is first and exclusive on India Today”, said the anchor on the channel as these visuals played out.
Expectedly, the video has been shared widely on Twitter and Facebook. For instance, the tweet below posted by a social media user was retweeted over 600 times.
On Facebook, it has been viewed over 225,000 times alone from the page The India Eye, which has posted an extract from an India TV broadcast.
What is the truth of the video?
According to reports, the air strike by the Indian Air Force on JeM terror camps was conducted at around 3:30 am on February 26, 2019. Alt News found that this video, used by multiple news organisations reporting the attack by IAF, was first posted in 2017. In September 2017, a YouTube channel uploaded a video titled ‘Flares at night Paf F-16’. The video is posted below. It can be seen from 0:34 onwards that a part of this very video has been used by the news channels.
Moreover, Alt News found that the same video was posted by a Pakistani Facebook page on February 24. It had been posted by the page Fans Of Imran Khan. It was also tweeted by a Pakistani user on February 25, with the narrative that it showed Pakistani fighter jets engaged in a military exercise in the Cholistan region.
This conclusively establishes that the video is NOT representative of the cross-border operation conducted by the IAF, since it was already on social media from 2017. The question then arises- how did this video end up being broadcast as footage of the operation, repeatedly and relentlessly by multiple media outlets?
Initially shared with false narrative by Pakistani handles
Alt News found that the video, used by multiple news organisations in the wake of the attack, was posted by a Pakistani Twitter user early morning at around 6 am on February 26, claiming that it showed Pakistan fighter aircraft ‘retaliating’ against the IAF.
The video was also posted by a Pakistani journalist at 10:35 am on February 26, after which it was likely picked up by the Indian media, without due verification.
(This article was first published on AltNews website and was reproduced here through special arrangement.)