India’s health workers have been putting their lives on their line to fight the coronavirus, its vaccine manufacturers have worked long hours to produce doses, but NDTV remains indefatigable in its mission of spreading panic and fake news.
“Breaking: the head of the Govt’s vaccine advisory panel Dr NK Arora tells me initial batches of Covaxin ‘were not of the right quality’,” NDTV’s Sreenivasan Jain dramatically tweeted at 9:27 pm yesterday.
Sreenivasan seemed to be implying that the government was admitting that initial Covaxin batches weren’t of the right quality. This was alarming for people who were the early recipients of the Covaxin vaccine, and could’ve spread panic among a large section of India’s population.
Sreenivasan Jain’s tweet was quickly picked up by leftists, and went viral, garnering more than a thousand retweets. But after his prime-time tweet had gone viral, and most people had gone to sleep, Jain added a clarification.
At 10:37 PM, a full one hour and ten minutes later, Sreenivasan Jain added some context to his tweet. “As per Dr Arora, these doses from the initial batches with quality issues (manufactured at the Bangalore plant) were never sent out. The new batches have passed quality checks, he says,” he tweeted.
This was crucial information, and completely changed the implications of Sreenivasan Jain’s initial tweet — Jain’s initial tweet had hinted that the first few Covaxin jabs that were administered weren’t of the right quality, but he then clarified that these initial doses were never administered. Any vaccine has test runs before making it public, and it’s incomprehensible why Jain chose to highlight this part with his tweet without saying that these doses weren’t administered. Worse, he let the tweet with the incomplete information stay for more than an hour before providing the clarification, by which time the misinformation had already gone viral.
This isn’t the first time that NDTV appears to have deliberately tried to sabotage India’s vaccine efforts, and aimed to spread misinformation and panic among the masses. Last year, NDTV had falsely reported that vaccine proposals from Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech had been rejected, forcing the Health Ministry to clarify that it was fake news. A while later, NDTV had again falsely reported that the Supreme Court judges would be allowed to choose which vaccine they’d take, and had again been forced to delete its tweet after the Health Ministry had clarified.
But Sreenivasan Jain’s latest stunt is so obviously malicious in intent that it would be hilarious if its implications weren’t so grave — the NDTV journo tweeted a bit of half information, waited for it to spread, and then more than an hour later shared the update which rendered his initial report meaningless. But by then, the news had already gone viral, and would’ve likely made its way to Facebook pages and WhatsApp groups, and created panic about the initial doses administered of the Made-In-India vaccine. NDTV has been a regular offender at spreading fake news for years, but Sreenivasan Jain’s latest effort shows that it’s getting more brazen than ever.