The results of a “readers’ poll” by website called British Herald declaring Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi the most powerful world leader are being widely shared by Indian social media users. Among those circulating the news are Bharatiya Janata Party leaders and supporters, and media outlets such as Zee News, Republic TV and Aaj Tak.
Union Minister Giriraj Singh was among those who shared the result. “It’s a matter of pride when the supreme leader of our country becomes the world’s most powerful man,” he said.
Zee News referred to British Herald as a “leading British magazine”. It carried an article that said, “In yet another proof of his image of a global leader, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been declared as the winner of a reader’s poll for world’s most powerful person 2019 conducted by a leading British magazine.”
Alt News decided to find out more about the poll that is being pushed so enthusiastically by sections of the media as a “matter of pride” for all Indians.
Who owns British Herald?
The website www.britishherald.com describes itself as “among the world’s leaders in online news and information delivery”. It mentions “via Reuters” in its logo banner and carries a wide variety of world news stories.
The website is owned by Herald Media Network Limited, a company registered in the UK.
The company was incorporated in April 2018 by an Indian national, Ansif Ashraf. Ashraf owns 85% of the shares and the rest is owned by four other shareholders. In addition Ashraf, the company has another director, Ahamed Shamseer Koliyad Shamsuddeen. Ansif Ashraf’s Wikipedia page describes him as an Indian businessman from Kerala who is the editor-in-chief of the Cochin Herald and owns British Herald.
A leading British magazine?
So how popular is British Herald?
1) British Herald has a global Alexa web traffic rank of 28,518, which grew from 95,979 three months ago. To put this in perspective, indiatimes.com has a global Alexa ranking of 190, NDTV has an Alexa ranking of 395. In terms of traffic, the British Herald is nowhere close to leading.
2) The British Herald Twitter account has less than 4,000 followers. By, the Alt NewsTwitter accounthas more than 120,000 followers. Leading British media houses such as BBC and The Guardian have millions of followers.
4) The British Herald, at the time of writing, does not have a Wikipedia page of its own. Every leading media organisation has one.
5) Not a single reputed international publication has carried the news of Prime Minister Modi having won a global leader poll by the British website. Only Indian publications did. In fact, even the results of the poll announced on the British Herald’s Twitter account have only been shared around 150 times at the time of writing.
No details of methodology or the sample size of the poll are available, even though the website said that it experienced a sudden surge in traffic during the voting period.
BJP leaders’ response
Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Harsh Vardhan, said Modi’s victory in the poll was a “matter of pride and honour” for 130 crore Indians.
The sentiment was echoed by a plethora of BJP leaders.
Republic TV reported the poll as “a big development” and a moment of pride for the nation.
Several other media outlets also did so.
None of these outlets seemed to have checked the credibility of British Herald while reporting the news.