Editors Guild withdraws Tek Fog remarks, Economist points to 3 lessons from ‘own-goal’
Hours after the Wire issued an apology to its readers over its controversial Meta stories, the Economist carried a on the website’s “own-goal” holding lessons for “opposition voices everywhere” while the Editors Guild of India withdrew its statement referring to the organization’s Tek Fog reports.
The Wire is also likely to face a legal battle. BJP’s information technology cell head Amit Malviya Thursday said that he will file criminal charges against the Wire and also seek damages in a civil court for allegedly forging documents to “malign and tarnish” his reputation.
In a statement on Friday, the EGI urged newsrooms to “resist the temptation of moving fast on sensitive stories, circumventing due journalistic norms and checks”. The guild said it was “disturbed with the recent turn of events” and emphasized on the “need for extra care in investigative journalism”.
In January, it had issued a statement on the Wire‘s series on the app Tek Fog, pointing out that “several women journalists were subjected to thousands of abusive tweets” to “instill fear in them” and “prevent them from expressing themselves freely and going about their jobs”. But on Friday, it said, “Since the Wire has removed those stories as part of their internal review following serious questions on the veracity of their reporting, the Guild withdraws the references made to all those reports”.
Meanwhile, in an article titled “A prominent Indian independent news site destroys its own credibility” in the Asia section, the Economist pointed out “three lessons”. “First is the stupidity of choosing partisanship over process. “A second lesson is that technology in general and social media in particular, while powerful, are not capable of magic. This is a lesson liberals have refused to learn ever since Britain voted for Brexit and America for Donald Trump. So badly did they want to believe in the abilities of Cambridge Analytica, or of the Russian state, or the maleficence of their political foes, or in the conspiracies that joined these elements together, that they failed to accept reality.”
“Above all is the lesson that misinformation is generated by all sides – and that it is often done in good faith. Journalists are told, ‘If your mother says she loves you, check it out.’ In an era when everything is political and anyone with a smartphone can broadcast news, skepticism is more important than ever. It is time to update the maxim. ‘If your enemy tells you he’s evil, check it out.’”
Earlier this month, the Wire had published two stories on Meta’s XCheck program. Meta responded that the Wire‘s documents were “fabrications”. Later in the week, the Wire published details of the technical process it followed, including redacted emails from two experts. Both experts subsequently told Newslaundry they had not been part of the process.
The Wire its stories on October 18, and on October 23.
Read our, and why the Wire was compelled to