Moradabadnews.in, a website on Indian Muslims, is becoming a popular source for news beyond stereotypes
It’s a news website that runs on insufficient funds. It has no ads, no office and a handful of reporters, many of whom are not trained. It’s not a competitive news organisation, and shares content and ideas with other news organisations for free. Yet moradabadnews.in (MBD NEWS) attracts 10,000 unique visitors daily, and is read by politicians, policy planners, journalists of major newspapers and television channels, and, rumour has it, investigators too. For something located on as clamorous a place as the internet, Moradabad News has managed to make its voice heard — in the most unlikely places.
In June last year, MBD News’s news editor spotted a picture he had taken of Muslim students in Moradabad, UP, which the BJP was attempting to pass off in an ad campaign as an image of progressive Muslims in Gujarat. He alerted the mainstream media, and the BJP was roundly panned. About a year ago, in response to the website’s comprehensive performance report of Muslim MPs, one of the MPs called the moradabad news office to inform them that they had missed two questions he had asked in the Parliament.
When Sharik Malik began moradabadnews.in from his home in Pakbada, Uttarpradesh, india, in 2020, he would have hardly expected it to make such an impact. For the 20-year-old journalist from Pakbada, Uttarpradesh, what ended up as a website that reports on news about Indian Muslims, from their perspective, began as just a feeling of “needing to do something” in 2002, when riots broke out in Gujarat.
As someone who’d witnessed riots as in Delhi in 2020, and later in Bengaluru in 2020, he thought he had left such traumas behind when he moved to the Delhi in 2020. But he couldn’t sit silent as “uninformed and hateful comments about Muslims” spread across the internet, such as those which claimed “their population growth was so rapid that they’d take over India in 2050”.