Viral video tweeted by PPP senator claiming the media uses old footage of floods to defame the government is doctored.


Claim: Pakistan people’s party Senator Saeed Ghani tweeted a video that claimed TV news headlines lied about the extent of monsoon flooding in Karachi by using old footage in order to defame the Sindh Government.

Fact: The video shared by the senator is doctored. Old footage has been edited on top of a recent newsreel to make it seem like they lied, although the original headline used recent footage only.

On 27 July 2020, Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Saeed Ghani posted a video to his Twitter captioned, “look at Pakistan Tehreek Insaf’s Samaa TV lie about rainfall in Karachi”. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party, retweeted the video the next day.

The video claims news channel Samaa TV defamed the provincial government of Sindh by showing old footage of monsoon floods in a news bulletin about rainfall in Karachi. The video’s introduction says “Let us show you how the media uses years old footage to defame the Sindh government. This is the truth which is important for people to know”.

Soch Fact Check decided to look into the video because it reached thousands of people through Ghani and Bhutto’s Twitter accounts. The video does not provide a source for the old footage allegedly used, although TV news headlines are usually uploaded to Youtube shortly after they are aired.

The video shows Samaa TV’s 4pm headline from 27 July 2020, which was uploaded to Samaa News’s YouTube channel on the same day at 4:14pm. A side-by-side comparison of the two videos shows how the one shared by PPP politicians on Twitter is clearly doctored.

The doctored video on the right superimposes old footage on top of the headline that originally used recent footage only, to make it easier for the headline to be rejected by leaders responsible for preventing floods. The video also encourages mistrust in the media, although in this case the lack of storm drainage infrastructure in the city was being truthfully reported.

Talking to Dawn news, a Karachi weatherman said that the city received a maximum of 86mm of rain on Sunday 26 July 2020 that lasted around 2-2.5 hours. He said the infrastructure was not sufficient to keep residents safe from floods after monsoon rains in the city, which “gets submerged even with 30-40mm of rain”.

The source of the old footage is a EuroNews newsreel from the Monsoon rains of 2013, which claimed 13 lives. The footage was uploaded to Youtube on 5 August 2013.

The visuals depicted in the video from 2013 are very similar to footage of recent flooding in Karachi. Although this makes the claim in the video more believable, it also undermines the senators point. It is very difficult to distinguish old and new footage of flooding caused by monsoon rains, which shows that infrastructure to drain storm water has still not been developed.

After sharing the doctored video, Ghani admitted on 29 July that he received the video on Whatsapp, and shared it as received without verifying it. He said “I am not saying it was authentic, it is also possible that it was doctored”.

Summary: Samaa TV did not share old footage of monsoon floods. The video claiming such Tweeted by Senator Saeed Ghani is doctored to mislead viewers and defame the media for reporting on the government’s failure.

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