India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during a mass rally ahead of the state legislative assembly elections at the Brigade Parade ground in Kolkata on March 7, 2021. (Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP)

New York Times denies making pro-Modi statement

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Multiple Facebook posts have shared a purported statement from “Joseph Hope, editor-in-chief of The New York Times" that praises Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The claim is false; there is no “Joseph Hope” listed as an employee at The New York Times and the paper said its editor Dean Baquet did not say or write the message circulating online.

The purported statement was published on January 25, 2021, here in a Facebook group called "Warriors of Social Media - Supporters of Modi"

"Joseph Hope, editor-in-chief of the New York Times: Narendra Modi's sole aim is to make India a better country," the post reads.

"If he is not stopped, in the future India will become the most powerful nation in the world.  It will surprise the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia."

The post goes on to praise Modi's policies, including seeking to tighten India's grip on the disputed Kashmir region.

Screenshot of Facebook post taken on March 8, 2021

The same purported statement was published on various Facebook pages in India, including here and here.

The claim, however, is false.

On January 30, 2021, the New York Times communications office tweeted a screenshot of an article from Indian news website The Logical Indian that debunks the claim.

In the screenshot, a statement from a New York Times spokesperson reads: "The editor of The New York Times is Dean Baquet and he has not said or written the attached message."

The spokesperson added that "No one named Joseph Hope works for The New York Times."

The Times’s tweet reads: “A false claim circulating in India related to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and The New York Times has been fact-checked; it is not true.”

There is also no "Joseph Hope" listed as an employee on the Times’s website. Executive Editor Dean Baquet can be seen listed on the website here.