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“Deliberate Attempt To Target Alt News: Fact-Checking Website Rubbishes Allegations Against Co-Founder Mohammed Zubair

Fact-checking website Alt News rubbished allegations against its co-founder Mohammed Zubair, who has been accused of “stalking a minor girl” on Twitter, and said the first information report (FIR) against him was a “deliberate attempt to target its journalism by misusing legal apparatus.”

Two FIRs have been lodged against Zubair, who on August 6th, responded to one Jagdish Singh, who via Twitter handle @JSINGH2252, used abusive language against him. Zubair posted Singh’s display picture, which features a little girl who is perhaps his granddaughter. He blurred her face in the image posted.

“Hello Jagdish Singh, Does your cute grand daughter know about your part time job of abusing people on social media?
I suggest you to change your profile pic. (sic)”, Zubair had tweeted.

Speaking to The Cognate, Pratik Sinha, co-founder of Alt News said, “I see it as a deliberate attempt to target Alt News. Zubair was asking a genuine question in response to the abuse targeted at him, and had responsibly blurred out the picture of the girl.”

The FIR’s have been registered in Delhi and Raipur, under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act for the alleged online harassment of a minor girl. The police’s action came after it received a complaint from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

“A complaint of “sexual offence”, coming from someone who has continually used objectifying and demeaning language against women is deplorable, the complainant in the case has used abusive language against Zubair in multiple occasions, this wasn’t the first time” Sinha added.

“An attempt is being made to hound co-founder of Alt News, Mohammed Zubair, through misuse of legal apparatus,” Sinha said in a statement. “Alt News stands by Mohammed Zubair. Zubair has been in the forefront of fighting fake narratives, and his work hurts those who have weaponized misinformation to subvert Indian democracy.”

Earlier on Saturday, Zubair had called the complaint “absolutely frivolous”. “I will be responding to it legally,” he had said.

#IStandWithZubair

Twitter users also came out in support of Zubair, pointing that this is what happens to people who stand up to the system.

Alt News is a non-profit fact-checking website founded in 2017 to combat the phenomenon of fake news and is a signatory partner of the International Fact-Checking Network.

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights took cognisance of the alleged doxing, which involves publishing private or identifying information about a particular individual on the Internet after it reportedly received several complaints regarding Zubair’s tweet. Two other Twitter users, with the usernames de_real_mask and syedsarwar20, have also been named in the FIRs.

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