Lamka, Manipur - July 12, 2023: The Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum (ITLF) has issued a press release today condemning the publication of a fake press release attributed to their organization. The false information, which was allegedly released by miscreants forging the ITLF's letterhead, was turned into a news story by the ANI news agency and published on the Times of India website.
The published story, titled "Manipur violence: Indigenous Tribal Leader Forum extends apology to Ruin Zo people for 'misguidance, conflict with Meitei people'," has sparked outrage within the ITLF. The fake story falsely claimed that the ITLF had issued an apology to the Ruin Zo people for their supposed involvement in conflicts with the Meitei people.
In their press release, the ITLF highlights the dangers of spreading false information, particularly in a time of violence and ongoing propaganda by certain communities. They emphasize the repercussions that such misinformation can have, including inciting further violence and endangering lives.
ANI removed the story from their website.
The ITLF states that they had previously issued a press statement on July 3, 2023, alerting the public to the forgery of their letterhead and the release of fabricated statements. They had also explicitly requested the media and the public to refer to their official social media accounts and website for accurate information and clarification.
The ITLF expresses their dismay that the ANI news agency did not verify the credibility of the press statement attributed to them before publishing it as a news story. They demand an immediate retraction of the story by ANI and a public apology for disseminating false information.
Furthermore, the ITLF calls on the Times of India and any other media organization that published the story to remove it from their platforms, including social media, and cease its circulation.
The ITLF warns that they will pursue legal action against ANI for spreading the fake story unless the news agency complies with their demands and issues an apology.
Ginza Vualzong, the Media & Publicity representative of the Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum (ITLF), urges responsible journalism and emphasizes the critical importance of verifying information before its publication.