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HomeEnglishFact Check: PM Dahal Spoke In Response To Balen Shah's Controversial Statement?...

Fact Check: PM Dahal Spoke In Response To Balen Shah’s Controversial Statement? No, Viral Video Is Misleading

Sanjeeb Phuyal is the Nepali Editor of Newschecker based in Kathmandu, Nepal. He brings over a decade of experience writing and editing news. In his previous stint, he worked as online editor for The Kathmandu Post. With the growth of social media platforms—and the ever-growing competition amongst media outlets to churn out breaking news, he feels that fact-checking every piece of information has become more essential today than ever before.

Claim
Video claims to show Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal addressing government officials in response to Kathmandu Mayor Balendra Shah’s threat to set Singha Durbar ablaze.
Fact
Viral Video actually shows PM Dahal announcing the expansion of Hello Sarkar hotline service 24/7

A viral video purportedly showing Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal speaking to the government officials in response to Kathmandu Metropolitan City Mayor Balendra Shah’s threat to set fire to Singha Durbar, the administrative centre of the country, is going viral on TikTok.

Earlier on September 2, Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) Mayor Balendra Shah had posted a controversial status on his Facebook page wall, threatening to set Singha Durbar on fire. Shah, however, deleted the status after his provocative post drew widespread criticism.

In a statement after reports of Mayor Shah’s threat to torch Singha Durbar,  the KMC Mayor Secretariat said that the traffic police behaved aggressively with his wife, who was facing postpartum complications, by stopping the KMC vehicle while she was returning after breastfeeding their baby kept at NICU. 

Against this backdrop, TikTok user @onthespot24 posted a video showing Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal addressing a programme. Text superimposed on the video reads, “Prime Minister Prachanda [Pushpa Kamal Dahal] swung into action after Kathmandu Mayor Balen Shah threatened to burn Singha Durbar. He initiated a great task in Singha Durbar, Hello Sarkar will be operated 24 hours.” A screenshot of the controversial post of Balen Shah is also briefly displayed on the bottom of the screen.

In the video, Prime Minister Dahal can be heard saying, “In order to strengthen the relations between the government and the people and to activate the people’s participation in the governing system, we have decided to provide the Hello Sarkar service, which was initiated 12 years ago, round-the-clock from today.” He can be further heard saying, “The popularity and improvement of a state depends on the controlling, monitoring and intervention of its affairs by its people. Hello Sarkar was formed 12 years ago after the declaration of a federal democratic republic with the objective of increasing the people’s intervention, monitoring and controlling of the state.”

The video posted on September 3 has garnered 1965 likes, 9 users have shared it and 124 people have commented on it until the time of publishing this article. The archived version of the TikTok video can be seen here.

Newschecker found the claim to be misleading.

Fact Check /Verification

To check the authenticity of the claim made in the viral video, Newschecker closely observed the video and noticed a logo of Onlinetv Nepal. Taking a clue from the video, Newscheker checked the YouTube channel named Onlinetv Nepal and found a video whose frames from the beginning to 2.30minute timestamp exactly matched the viral video.

Then, we examined the other videos posted on the YouTube channel and found that the channel often posts sensational, opinionated and unverified contents surrounding the contemporary issues facing the country.

As Prime Minister Dahal is heard talking about the Hello Sarkar, a hotline for redressing public grievances, in the video, we searched for the news by using relevant keywords, and found several reports on the issue. On checking one such report, dated September 3, 2023, published on My Republic online, we found that Prime Minister Dahal launched the expansion of Hello Sarkar service round the clock, however, we did not find any connection between Prime Minister Dahal’s address and the provocative statement by mayor Balen Shah.

Further, we took several keyframes from the viral video and conducted reverse searches on them. The search threw up several results matching the viral video, pointing us towards the event for launching the Hello Sarkar hotline service 24/7.

On checking a video published on the YouTube channel of Nepal Press, we found that the video frames and the audio was from the event in which Prime Minister Dahal announced the expansion of Hello Sarkar service. We listened to the entire speech of the Prime Minister but nowhere does he mention Kathmandu Mayor’s controversial social media post. And neither does the video show Dahal uttering a single word about KMC Mayor Balendra Shah and his Facebook status. 

Further, we checked the X (formerly Twitter) handle of Hello Sarkar and came across a video report clip of Kantipur Television, dated August 27, regarding the government’s preparation to make the Hello Sarkar service more effective. On checking the video report, we found that the government had prepared a draft on amending the Hello Sarkar greviance directive. “The plans included operating a hotline centre 24/7 and addressing a high-level director’s committee to address the complaints lodged with the Hello Sarkar.”

Thus, our findings clearly show that Prime Minister Dahal’s announcement to expand Hello Sarkar hotline service had already been planned and it was not prompted by the controversial social media post by Kathmandu Mayor Balendra Shah as claimed by the viral video.

Conclusion

The video purportedly showing Prime Minister Dahal swinging into action in response to Kathmandu Mayor Balen Saha’s threatening social media post of torching

Singha Durbar is misleading. The viral video falsely links PM Dahal’s launching the expansion of the Hello Sarkar hotline service with Mayo Shah’s provocative statement.

Result: Missing Context

Sources
Onlinetv Nepal/YouTube September 3, 2023
My Republica September 3, 2023
Nepal Press /YouTube September 3, 2023
Hello Sarkar/X, August 27, 2023 


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Sanjeeb Phuyal is the Nepali Editor of Newschecker based in Kathmandu, Nepal. He brings over a decade of experience writing and editing news. In his previous stint, he worked as online editor for The Kathmandu Post. With the growth of social media platforms—and the ever-growing competition amongst media outlets to churn out breaking news, he feels that fact-checking every piece of information has become more essential today than ever before.

Sanjeeb Phuyal
Sanjeeb Phuyal
Sanjeeb Phuyal is the Nepali Editor of Newschecker based in Kathmandu, Nepal. He brings over a decade of experience writing and editing news. In his previous stint, he worked as online editor for The Kathmandu Post. With the growth of social media platforms—and the ever-growing competition amongst media outlets to churn out breaking news, he feels that fact-checking every piece of information has become more essential today than ever before.

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