Inaccurate reporting

BY Dipu Shaw| IN Media Practice | 07/05/2009
In spite of the fact that the reporter was informed about the mistakes by the RTI applicant, the newspaper made no corrections on the subsequent day.
In fact it repeated them, says DIPU SHAW.

Nai Duniya, the Hindi daily carried a story on 2nd May about cutting of trees in the capital. The report on the front page of the newspaper was ridden with inaccuracies and mistakes.


The headline mentioned that there is scorching heat in Delhi while the shade has been shifted to Gaziabad (Aag barse Delhi me, chao mile Gaziabad me) referring to substantial cutting of trees in the capital and 12889 nos. of Compensatory plantations by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. The report further emphasized this point.


The source of the report is the reply from the Department of Forest and Wildlife to an application under the Right To Information (RTI) Act, 2005.



The North Forest Division has carried out plantation (12889 nos. of saplings) at Gazipur and not Gaziabad as the report mentions.

The subheading mentions that the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has cut 50,000 trees in the capital and no action has been taken against it.  

The report disapproves this statement. It mentions that about 50,000 trees have been cut in the capital in the last five years for various development works.


Both these figures are incorrect.


The number of trees cut in Delhi in the last five years in lieu of the various developmental works that have taken place in the capital will be more than one lakh i.e. double the figure mentioned in the report. Delhi has three forest divisions under the Department of Forest and Wildlife. Permission for removal of about 50,000 trees has been granted by just the North Forest Division of the city. The South Forest Division of the capital has given permission to remove an additional 37,000 trees. The figures from the West Forest Division are still awaited.


The report also provides statistics describing it as "details of the removal of trees for the Commonwealth games and the Delhi Metro". Originally, the statistics are the details of the trees removed in the name of all types of development works in areas under the North Forest Division. It is therefore not correct to say that the trees have been removed only in the name of the Commonwealth Games and Delhi Metro.


The source

Afroz Alam ‘Sahil’, a Delhi based activist, had filed an application under the RTI Act to find out about the number of trees removed from the capital in the name of different developmental works in the city. The application filed in the Department of Environment of Delhi was forwarded to the Deputy Conservator of Forests of the South/West/North Division. The report in Nai Duniya was based only on the reply from the North Forest Division and the figures reflected information pertaining to that particular division. The figures from the other two forest divisions in the capital were not included in the report.


In spite of the fact that the reporter was informed about the mistakes by the RTI applicant, the newspaper made no corrections on the subsequent day. On the contrary, the newspaper in its "Sthanikiya" column of the next issue published a comment by a Geography Professor on the same report. In quoting the figures of the story in the newspaper the previous day, it repeated the mistakes.



Hamara Samaj, an Urdu daily which also reported on the matter on 2nd May did not even bother to look into the reply from the Forest and Wildlife Department. In what might seem a simple case of plagiarism, the Urdu reporter just picked up the story from the blog of the RTI activist ( and translated it into Urdu. He filed the story under his own name. The figures in this report too were inaccurate.


Dipu Shaw



Nai Duniya
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