There are many pertinent questions to be asked about the unbridled (and burgeoning) use of Facebook, Twitter and other social media as a source of news by newspapers and TV stations—not to mention websites like these.
One of those questions faces The Telegraph, Calcutta, which carried a picture* posted by the actor-stripper Poonam Pandey on her Twitter account (@iPoonampandey) in its tabloid t2 section on Monday.
In the picture*, Pandey—who threatened to pose nude if India won the cricket 2011 World Cup—stands naked with a photograph of “God” as an offering to Sachin Tendulkar, who scored his 100th hundred in Dhaka last week.
“Thinking what pic should I gift the “God of Cricket”…. This historic moment reminds me of an old pic which one of my fans had morphed…. this was the pic….”
The use of a tiny picture* in a city tabloid to celebrate the momentous occasion has resulted in a fullblown communal issue in Calcutta.
Wednesday’s Telegraph carried a front-page appeal by the chief minister, Mamata Banerjee.
“Some people are trying to stoke violence over a photograph published in a newspaper. I appeal to all members of the Hindu and Muslim commuities to steer clear of any provocation. The newspaper which carried the picture today tendered an apology.”
The Telegraph‘s apology, also carried on page one, read:
“The Telegraph tenders an unconditional apology for reproducing a tweet by @iPoonpandey in Monday’s edition of t2. The publication was the result of a technical error. The Telegraph had no intention to hurt the sentiments of any community. We sincerely apologise for the hurt the publication of the tweet has caused.”
* photograph for representative purposes