Twitter up in arms over newspaper 'coup' report
The Indian Express lead story has pushed Shekhar Gupta to the top of India's trending tags with everyone from Barkha Dutt to Narendra Modi weighing in.
The jarring three deck headline of the Indian Express cover story - that covered their whole front page - detailing how the political establishment in Delhi was 'spooked' by unauthorized troop movements towards the capital has opened the floodgates on Twitter.
By 9am, Indian Express editor Shekhar Gupta was the top trending tag in India, while 'Indian Express' was the third highest trending tag.
The article which talked of how government officials took evasive action because they feared a coup on the night of 16 January, has unleashed a wave of anger on the micro blogging website, with twitterati hitting out at what they have called "irresponsible and sensational journalism" on the part of the paper. The article has also been seen as an attempt to discredit the good name of the Indian army.
"There should be some kind of law passed against disgracing an illustrious legacy, Shekhar Gupta and Indian Express", tweeted one user who goes by the handle @ScorpiusMaximus, while @sharmarohitraj said, "I demand that Shekhar Gupta should be tried for high treason!"
Actress Gul Panag who is extremely active on Twitter was also very vocal in her opinion that the army was being discredited by the newspaper. "Discrediting the Indian Army (the last vestige of honour & integrity) has become fashionable. Who exactly benefits from this IE story?", she asked, adding "This piece in IE has irrevocably damaged the IA. Clearly a section of the media is benefitting from maligning the IA( at whose behest???)"
Another user, @wordofthefree said, "None can accuse Shekhar Gupta of not trying hard to live up to his Padma award", while @mediocre_Indian said, "Shekhar Gupta is a national shame".
Others have dismissed the report as a work of inspired fiction with some saying that they could read the story to their children as a bedtime story. Others didn't even give the story that much credence. Twitter user @indiantweeter is of the opinion for instance, that "my 10 year old nephew can write better fiction stories than the one Shekhar Gupta wrote"
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi however, seemed to be of the opinion that there was some meat to the story. "Read Indian Express story about armed forces. PM should clear the air so that confidence of people is not moved", he tweeted.
NDTV anchor Barkha Dutt who is fairly active on Twitter was more measured in her reaction to the story but felt compelled to tweet, "Have to say I can believe many things but not that India's Army could move against its democracy. Somehow find the idea unpalatable".
CNN IBN Anchor and editor in chief Rajdeep Sardesai was more philosophical. In a series of tweets he said, "How do you take forward a story that everyone denies, a story that raises more questions than answers?" adding "May I suggest to all my friends in and outside the media, today is the day for the "r" word. i.e. restraint!" and ending with "Final thought: lets stop shooting the messenger. Journalists raise questions in stories, its for govts to give answers. bye"
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