Lazy bums, happy to copy off Facebook walls

BY SHUBHAM VERMA| IN Community Media | 20/07/2017
A Facebook post by a Delhi writer is stolen by a plagiarist and then published by journalists too lazy to check or to find their own stories
SHUBHAM VERMA complains

Shubham Verma’s original Facebook post of 7 July 2017 (left) and plagiarist Sunil Choudhary’s Facebook post dated 8 July 2017 (right) 

 

I am a freelance writer and researcher based in New Delhi. I write stories based on my personal experiences with ordinary Indians. I am also a student of community media, so most of the time I use a social media platform to write my stories. I did the same few days ago and something happened which really shocked me.

On 7th July, I was travelling in the Delhi Metro. I saw a boy, sitting opposite me with plugged earphones, taking his water bottle out of his bag when his tiffin box fell and his lunch spilled onto the floor. I thought that the compartment would now be dirty all day long with the food that had tumbled out.

But the boy tore out a page from his notebook and started picking up the mess he had accidentally made. After gathering all of it, he took his handkerchief and cleaned the floor to leave it clean. I thanked him for his efforts and thought that the nation doesn’t need to spend crores on seminars for Swachh Bharat as long as youngsters like him can pledge to keep their country green and clean. I asked his name – he replied “Pranjal Dubey” - then my metro stop arrived.  

"On checking social media, I found that someone called ‘Sunil Choudhary’ had plagiarized my post, putting his name on it and removing ‘Delhi’ from it. "

 

I shared this incident on my Facebook wall and the story was liked by more than 1,000 people and shared by more than 600. I left Delhi on the same day to attend a youth volunteer conference in Kargil. Since the prepaid cell phones of other states do not work in Jammu and Kashmir, I did not check for any further updates on my post.

I came back from Kargil  and, on checking social media, found that someone called ‘Sunil Choudhary’ had plagiarized my post, putting his name on it and removing ‘Delhi’ from it. As he was from Jaipur, people started assuming that he had clicked those photographs in Jaipur.  His post got more than 30,000 likes and lots of shares. 

It doesn’t stop here. Some bloggers and prominent media houses took this story from his wall and published it on their websites. Well known media groups like the Indian Express, Jansatta, Indiatimes, Inuth, India Today etc.,  plagiarized my content without verifying it and published it under his name.  They also introduced a wrong fact by calling it a ‘Jaipur metro incident’.

The media took it from his wall, and without doing any research or investigation, published my content with his byline. This is the reality of air conditioner journalism in India. They do not even bother to go out of their offices and cross check facts. Journalists, instead of finding stories on their own, copy stories from other peoples’ Facebook walls, without acknowledging the real source and earn money through the number of hits.

It demotivates individuals like me who do real stories and present them via community media. There should be some media guidelines to stop journalists like these from plagiarizing our content. Media houses who are responsible for this, should apologize for copying my content as well as adding wrong facts about which Metro the incident happened on.

"Journalists, instead of finding stories on their own, copy stories from other peoples’ Facebook walls, without acknowledging the real source and earn money through the number of hits."

 

The comparison between the two pictures clearly shows that Sunil Choudhary copied my post. Now, I am giving you links of the media houses which published this story from his wall:

  1. Indian Express: http://indianexpress.com/article/trending/trending-in-india/swachh-bharat-campaign-sunil-choudhary-pranjal-dubey-keep-the-metro-clean-4750451/
  2. Punjab Kesari: http://m.punjabkesari.in/national/news/the-whole-country-is-saying-thank-you-to-this-boy-646803
  3. Jansatta: http://www.jansatta.com/trending-news/boys-little-act-to-keep-the-jaipur-metro-clean-is-being-appreciated-by-all-social-media-users/376013/
  4. IndiaTimes.com: http://www.indiatimes.com/news/world/what-we-all-can-learn-from-the-boy-who-took-the-initiative-to-keep-jaipur-metro-clean-325888.html
  5. InUth.com: http://www.inuth.com/india/boy-cleaning-floor-with-handkerchief-to-keep-jaipur-metro-clean-is-all-the-inspiration-you-need/
  6. IndiaTodayNews.org: http://indiatodaynews.org/this-boys-little-act-to-keep-the-jaipur-metro-clean-is-bigger-than-any-campaign/
  7. Younews.in: http://www.younews.in/news/this-boy%E2%80%99s-little-act-to-keep-the-jaipur-metro-clean-is-bigger-than-any-campaign/
  8. JaipurCityBlog: http://www.jaipurcityblog.com/jaipur-boy-who-wiped-metro-floor-with-his-handkerchief-is-the-real-hero-of-swachh-bharat.html
  9. Reddit.com: https://www.reddit.com/r/india/comments/6nf7sk/this_boys_little_act_to_keep_the_jaipur_metro/
  10. Clipper28.com: https://www.clipper28.com/boys-little-act-to-keep-the-jaipur-metro-clean-is-being-appreciated-by-all-social-media-users.html

These are only a few examples which I found after a simple Google search. It’s possible that more media houses have published this story too.  The champions of freedom of expression have plagiarized my content. Now my questions to them are: 

  • Is this what you call journalism?
  • Is it the quality of your investigation and research?
  • Can’t you afford a single field journalist who can write real stories?
  • Will you apologize?

 If mainstream media houses commit these misdemeanours, then who can the ordinary person trust?

 

Shubham Verma is a writer and researcher in New Delhi.

Email: theshubhamhindi@gmail.com 

 

 

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