Indian media outlet misreported Pakistani cricketers tweets on Palestine
Cricketers’ tweets for Palestine are misrepresented as supporting Hamas
Claim: News24 shared a post which said that Pakistan’s cricket team supports the Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas by tweeting in favour of the group.
Fact: The Pakistani cricket team did not tweet in favour of Hamas. The cricketers only shared a picture of the national flag of Palestine. The Indian media misreported and linked the tweets to the militant group, which controls the Gaza Strip of the Palestinian territories.
On 7 October 2023 the Al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, launched a “surprise attack” on Israel via sea, land, and air. In response, the Israeli government formally declared war on Hamas on 8 October 2023.
At least 1,400 fatalities have been reported in Israel, while health officials reported that more than 5,000 people have been killed in Gaza, Palestine, according to a report by UN News. The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, the UNRWA, reported that over one million people, almost half the total population of Gaza, have been displaced. The Israeli bombardment of Gaza continues at the time of writing.
Fact or Fiction?
On 19 October 2023, Indian news channel News24 posted a now deleted post (archived), on X (formerly Twitter) with a Hindi language caption,
फिलिस्तीन के आतंकी संगठन हमास के समर्थन में खुलकर उतरे पाकिस्तान के क्रिकेटर
शादाब ख़ान, हारिस रऊफ, इफ्तिखार अहमद समेत कई खिलाड़ियों ने ट्वीट कर किया समर्थन
Translated [Pakistan’s cricketers came out openly in support of Palestine’s terrorist organisation Hamas. Many players including Shadab Khan, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed supported by tweeting].
The post was accompanied by a collage of different tweets by players where they posted Palestine’s flag in support of recent attacks on Gaza.
The Pakistani cricket team is currently playing in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, which takes place from 5 October –19 November 2023, in India. Soch Fact Check decided to fact-check this claim by the Indian channel, as in times like these, the players’ security could be at risk if their support for humanitarian issues is misrepresented as supporting a militant group.
For further clarification on the caption, Soch Fact Check reached out to Jyoti Dwivedi, a fact-checker working for IFCN signatory Aaj Tak in India. She also translated the caption, which reads, “Pakistan cricketers have openly come out in support of the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Many players, including Shadab Khan, Haris Rauf, and Iftikhar Ahmed, have extended their support through tweets.”
Soch Fact Check also reached out to Umar Farooq Kalson, the media head of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). He debunked the claim of News24 as false, and added that the support is for peace. Kalson also said that the “players never addressed Hamas. They just expressed their emotions on humanitarian grounds.”
To clarify, the cricket players only tweeted images of the flag of Palestine. The same flag was raised for the first time at United Nations Headquarters back in 2015 which makes it clear that it does not represent supporting Hamas. Furthermore, Hamas’s flag is different from the one tweeted by the cricketers. Hamas’s flag is green in colour and with Arabic script of the ‘first kalima’ written on it. It can be seen here on the stock image website Alamy.
News24’s post received 129.5k views, 500 likes, and 160 reposts in a few hours on 19 October after which it was deleted due to the backlash it received on social media. It was also shared here on X.
Conclusion: Pakistani cricketers did not post in support of Hamas. The players only posted images of the flag of Palestine. However, the tweets were misrepresented as a show of support for the Islamist group Hamas by an Indian channel on social media.
Background image in cover photo: Getty Images
To appeal against our fact-check, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org