PhotoCredit- BBC

On 2rd July 2019 a Facebook user named Avinash Shrivastava posted a picture. Its heading said “this Article of the American website was stolen by MP of Trinimool Congress “Mahua Moitra” and used for her speech in the Parliament”.  The maiden speech of MP of Trinimool Congress member Mahua Moitra delivered in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, 24th June 2019 took internet with storm. In her maiden speech she has criticized the Narender Modi government on many issues. Her 10 minutes long speech is admired by many on social media. It has been claimed on social media that the wordings used by Mahua Moitra in the speech has been “stolen”. Also it has been emphasized that the dignity of parliament is in danger. This picture and claim has been doing the rounds on social media. 

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Let us listen to the speech of Mahua Moitra 

After looking for information related to this claim on social media, we found this tweet on the official twitter handle of Zee News Chief Editor Sudhir Chaudhary. He twitted “this is the article of the American website that Trinimool Congress MP Mahua Moitra stole and used in her speech in the Lok sabha. It is word to word same; she used the same article in her speech. The dignity of the parliament is in danger.  Zee News published this news and its link is also mentioned. Two pictures have also been shared in this tweet. In this picture, we can see the list of “12 early warning signs of fascism” and in other picture we can see the points mentioned by Mahua Moitra in her speech.

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In News Published by Zee News Chief Editor , Sudhir  Chaudhary, in 2017 the article that he referred to spoke about “12 early warning signs of fascism” in Donald Trump’s America. “Her speech replaced ‘Trump’ with ‘Modi’,” asserted Chaudhary, holding up a printout of the article and facing towards the camera.

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 In this viral image, the name of the writer Martin Longman is mentioned on a piece of paper. In order to search for this news, we realised that on 31st January 2017, there was a similar article written by Martin Longman and it was published in Washington Monthly. The writer has said that this poster has been put up in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. 

Washington Monthly    Archive Link  

Apart from this, we tried to understand the word plagiarism. According to Lexico Oxford Dictionary, it means the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them as one’s own. It is clear that Mahua used her seven warning signals from a pre-existing list, but did she pass them as her on ideas?

On 25th June 2019, Mahua Moitra gave her first speech in the parliament where she listed the early signs of various fascisms in India. In the end, she had mentioned the source of her inspiration behind the address. In the video at 1min 20 seconds, she can be heard saying:

“In 2017, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum put up a poster in its main lobby and it contained a list of all the signs of early fascism. Each of the seven signs I have pointed to you, features on that poster.”

In the video below, we have shown that part of the video after cropping it, where she is seen giving credit for ideas that she included in her speech. 

She mentioned this is through a tweet from her twitter account “to the people who are talking about plagiarized speech, I clearly mentioned the source of speech. You may look here.” One video was also uploaded. 

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Through the American website Snopes, we realized that “the poster was not an exhibit but instead was at one point available at a gift shop of the Unites States Holocaust Memorial Museum”

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Social media claims that Mahua Moitra copy pasted her speech from Washington Monthly article.  We saw news article published by Huffington Post. In this news, they have mentioned Mahua’s speech in words.  

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We compared Mahua’s copy of speech with the news article published in Washington Monthly in 2017 and found the common topic between the both is “Early warning signs of Fascism” which was inspired by Unites State’s Holocaust Memorial Museum. It is mentioned in the list that this topic is written by Laurence W. Britt.

We found a part of an article in which DR. Britt told about 14 signs of fascism. It was published on 15th July, 2003 in Free Inquiry Magazine, Vol.2

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Confirming this, Martin Longman, author of the Washington Monthly article, has also twitted from his twitter handle. He has written through his tweet that the allegation of plagiarism on Indian politician Mahua Moitra is false and no one has stole his ideas and presented it with his saying.

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After this we tried to contact Mahua Moitra to get more information on this subject, but were we unable to get the response. We will update this story as soon as we are able to talk to her. She spoke to ANI outside parliament where she repeated the tweet by Martin Longman, author of Washington Monthly article, where he has denied that Mahua stole his work. 

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We want to convey to our readers that both Martin Longman and Mahua Moitra were inspired by Dr. Brit’s article that was published on 15th July 2003 in the Free Inquiry magazine. In this articled Brit has highlighted 14 points of fascism which are taken in the initial warning signs of fascism.  

Conclusion: After checking the facts, we found the above post to be incorrect. According to the claim, Mahua Moitra did not steal any speech. She reiterated that the poster on America’s Holocaust Museum lobby was her inspiration

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Title:The speech given by Mahua Moitra in the Lok Sabha is not stolen from someone’s article

Fact Check By: Ruchika M 

Result: False