On the night of 23rd April 2020, Arnab Goswami, the editor of Republic TV was allegedly attacked by goons affiliated with Indian Youth Congress (IYC). He was driving back to him home from his office in his car along with his wife, Samyabrata Ray Goswami. Soon after the attack, he released a 5:50 minutes video statement on Republic’s twitter account.
— Republic (@republic) April 22, 2020
Since then, several social media users have accused Goswami of staging the alleged attack. A lot of questions have been raised about the event’s chronology with respect to the attack and its announcement on Republic TV as well as on its social media handles.
Claim: Two claims are going viral of twitter against Goswami, these are, was the video shot before the alleged attack occurred and whether Sambit Patra and Ashoke Pandit tweeted about this before it even happened?
Metadata claim 1:
Gaurav Pandhi, National coordinator of Congress IT cell, claimed that the metadata of Goswami’s video claims that it was shot much before the alleged attack. He posted a screenshot from metadata according to which the video was created on April 22nd, 2020 at 8.17 pm. Goswami, in his video message, states that he was allegedly attacked at 12.15 am on April 23rd. That is, four hours after the time of video creation in the metadata. In a police complaint filed by him, he reported 12.15 am as the time of the alleged attack.
🔸Arnab has a Y category security
🔸His security guards caught the attackers, who then talked at great length & were let off?😂
🔸Why were they not handed over to the Police?
🔸Also metadata of the video put up by #Repuplick suggests it was shot much before the alleged incident pic.twitter.com/mXNOj5Anag
— Gaurav Pandhi (@GauravPandhi) April 23, 2020
Twitter was soon flooded with allegations against the journalist.
Claims are being made that prominent handles like Ashoke Pandit and Sambit Patra are tweeting their support to Arnab Goswami ever before the incident was announced. Republic TV’s first tweet about the alleged attack was put out at 1:06 AM. Patra and Pandit tweeted a few minutes before at 1:05 AM and 12:55 AM respectively.
Look at these three tweets. Sambit Patra and Ashoke Pandit tweeted about the ‘attack’ even before Republic TV broke the story! How on earth can this happen? pic.twitter.com/zvdx6nZCpB
— Rifat Jawaid (@RifatJawaid) April 23, 2020
Facts about metadata claim 1:
Metadata gives essentially information about any file. It has certain tools which reveal the metadata associated with videos. However, it is only accurate when information is extracted from the raw/original file and not from a file forwarded/shared on Social Media. It modifies the data based on the platform where is the video is sent to or received from. So the metadata of Twitter files, including Arnab’s video will show date and time based on from where it was downloaded and then uploaded and not when it was shot.
It is true that the website metadata2go.com shows the time as 20:17 (8:17 PM) on April 22nd for the video which was downloaded from twitter.
However the ‘tags’ section of the same video gives the time as ‘2020-04-22T20:17:11.000000Z’. The letter ‘Z’ denotes Zulu Time which is the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), now known as the Universal Time Coordinated (UTC). To adjust this with the Indian Standard Time (IST), 5:30 hours need to be added which means that the creation time is 1:47 AM, April 23 and that is the exact time when Republic TV uploaded the video on Twitter.
Therefore, several social media users misinterpreted the upload time on Twitter as the true metadata (date of creation) of the video. Whereas, the metadata reflected the time in UTC which had to be adjusted to reflect the Indian time.
Therefore, the claim about the video been shot before the incident happened is false.
Facts about claim 2:
The claim about people supporting Goswami on twitter even before the incident was announced by Republic is false.
Republic TV had disclosed the alleged attack during a 12:35 AM broadcast. This was before the channel either tweeted about it or uploaded Goswami’s video on YouTube.
The tweets from Patra and Pandit were after the news was broadcasted on Republic TV channel, on 1:05 AM and 12:55 AM, respectively.
Ashoke Pandit, in his defense, also tweeted an image of the news being broadcasted on Republic TV channel, after which he tweeted about it.
— Ashoke Pandit (@ashokepandit) April 23, 2020
Hence, the allegations about the two knowing about the alleged attack beforehand are also false.