Banner thanking Indian PM for Olympic athlete's medal win is doctored

Copyright AFP 2017-2021. All rights reserved.

Several accounts on Facebook and Twitter have shared an image of a congratulatory banner that credits Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for champion weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu's silver medal win at the Tokyo Olympics. However, the image has been doctored. The real banner does not thank Modi for Chanu's win.

"Great! Look at the banner behind and read what is written," reads a Facebook post from July 30. It was shared in a group with more than 60,000 members.

"Was the medal attained by Mirabai Chanu through her hard work or was it given to her by Modi Ji? If the latter is the case, why doesn't Modi ji give medals to the whole team?"

The picture appears to show Saikhom Mirabai Chanu sitting in front of a banner with Modi's face on it, with the Hindi text on the banner reading: "Felicitation of Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Saikhom Mirabai Chanu. Thank you Modi ji, for Mirabai Chanu's medal win."

Screenshot of the altered image viral on Facebook, taken on August 11, 2021

Chanu won a silver medal in the women's 49kg weightlifting competition on the opening day of the Tokyo Olympics.

The image of the banner was also shared on Facebook here, here and here, and on Twitter here and here.

However, the image has been doctored.

A reverse image search on TinEye led to this press release by India's Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports which contains the original photo.

In that photo, the banner behind the athlete does not say, "Thank you Modi ji, for Mirabai Chanu's medal win" -- that has been added in.

The banner actually just reads in both Hindi and English, "Felicitation of Tokyo Olympics Silver Medallist Saikhom Mirabai Chanu. 26th July, 2021."

Screenshot of the original photo included in the press release, taken on August 12, 2021

More photos from Chanu's congratulation ceremony, that include the original banner, were tweeted here by the official account of the government's Press Information Bureau.

The photos of the banner can also be seen in news reports here and here.

Below is a comparison between the image with the morphed banner that is being widely shared on Facebook, and the original photo included in the press release.

Comparison between the image with the altered banner and the original photo included in the ministry's press release