‘TIME’ magazine article on UP government’s handling of COVID-19 is ‘sponsored content’

A Publish is shared on social media with a claim that ‘TIME’ magazine published an article praising the government of Uttar Pradesh for its handling of COVID-19. Some verified handles on Twitter also posted the photos from the article with a similar claim. These tweets can be seen here and here. Let’s check the facts of the claim made in the message.

The archived version of the message can be found here.

Claim: ‘TIME’ magazine has published an article praising the government of Uttar Pradesh for its handling of COVID-19.

Do: The ‘TIME’ magazine article on the Government of Uttar Pradesh’s handling of COVID-19 is not written by ‘TIME’. In the top left corner of the article, “UTTAR PRADESH CONTENT” is mentioned. Many differences can be seen between the article on the government of Uttar Pradesh and the articles written and published by ‘TIME’. Additionally, ‘TIME’ clarified to ‘The Quint’ that the article on the UP government’s handling of COVID-19 is ‘sponsored content’. Therefore, the claim made in the message is FALSE.

FACTLY accessed the physical copy of ‘TIME’ magazine (December 21/December 28, 2020) published in India and searched for the article in the content page, but the title of the article was not mentioned in the content page. If ‘TIME’ wrote and published the article, then the title of the article would have been mentioned in the content page. Also, the Uttar Pradesh government article was not found in the international issue of ‘TIME’ magazine.

On the top left corner of the page, “CONTENT FROM UTTAR PRADESH” is written which implies that it is sponsored content.

Differences in fonts can be seen between the article on the government of Uttar Pradesh and the articles written and published by ‘TIME’. Similarly, font differences can be seen between TIME’s own articles and LIC’s sponsored content in the same magazine. Also, it can be noticed that there are no page numbers on the pages where such sponsored articles are found.

‘Newslaundry’ published a article on January 06, 2021 mentioning that several Indian news portals reported similar content, as published in ‘TIME’ magazine, the first week of December itself. Some of these articles can be read here, here, and here. Also, ‘The Quint’ reported that ‘TIME’ clarified to them via email that the article on the UP government’s handling of COVID-19 is ‘sponsored content’. FACTLY also wrote to ‘TIME’ for clarification and this article will be updated when they respond.

To summarize, the article on the UP government’s handling of COVID-19 in ‘TIME’ magazine is ‘sponsored content’.