Faced with a deluge of protest over dubbing Kerala as Thundery Pakistan, prominent English news channel Times Now Saturday regretted the error. However, a campaign seeking apology from the TV channel is still on. Times Now, in its report on BJP national president Amit Shah’s Kerala tour on Friday, said in its headline that “Shah is heading to thundery Pakistan.” “Beef ban row gets bigger”, the channel added, reporting that Shah was visiting Kerala amidst protest over Centre’s ban on sale of cattle for slaughter.
Outraged over calling Kerala “Thundery Pakistan”, social media users began a campaign under various hashtags against the channel. Hashtags such as #ApologiseTimesNow and #apologisetimescow trended on the social media website Twitter. There was also an online petition to the TRAI chairman asking to take action against Times Now. Twitter also called on prominent persons from Kerala to not go on air on Times Now until they apologize for the headline. A Twitter user wrote, “We eat beef and we are not Pakistanis.’’
Times Now’s Facebook page also witnessed Malayalis jostling to express their rage against the channel. A user Jijesh Karayi said, “I am proud of malayali…our language ..food ..rituals ..festivals are very different …it’s times now for apologize …we are Indian not a Pakistani …we love beef fry and poratta…you can’t stop that.’’
As the issue snowballed into a major controversy, Times Now offered a corrigendum saying it regretted the “inadvertent error” that “may have hurt sentiments”. “Times Now regrets an inadvertent error reported on the channel on June 2, regarding Amit Shah’s visit to Kerala. Instead of Kerala, the word Pakistan was inadvertently typed. Times Now once again regret the error, which may have hurt sentiments,” said the regret message. The channel, however, did not apologise.