On Wednesday, Prasar Bharti – India’s largest public broadcasting agency – lashed out Reuters, accusing the news agency of spreading ‘fake news’.
In a series of tweets, Prasar Bharti rubbished a Reuters report which stated that the Modi government had planned to outlaw six items on Gandhi Jayanti.
The report stated: “The plan was for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to outlaw six items on Wednesday, the 150th anniversary of the birth of independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, as part of a broader campaign to rid India of single-use plastics by 2022. But two officials said there would be no immediate move to ban plastic bags, cups, plates, small bottles, straws and certain types of sachets and instead the government would try to curb their use.”
This led to a sharp reaction from Prasar Bharti who stated that a ‘blanket ban’ was never in the offing. They wrote: “Fake News by Reuters. There was NEVER a blanket ban in the works against single use plastic. PM’s appeal and thrust has always been about a mass-movement against the scourge of single use plastics. India, today is on the verge of starting a historic movement against single use plastic, setting an example for the world.”
It added: “To imagine a fictitious "ban" and then to claim it has been "shelved" is reflective of the polemical approach of International News Agencies that are looking to stoke controversies spread negativity. On a day when we mark 150 years of Gandhi's Birth such falsehoods do no justice to 1.3 billion Indians’ tribute to Gandhi in the fight against single use plastic.”
Yesterday, PM Modi clarified that his speech on Independence Day was aimed at eschewing single-use plastic and not to make the country plastic-free. He had said: “Some people are misinterpreting that I wanted India to be rid of plastic. I did not say so. What I said was that I want the country to rid itself of single-use plastic. This plastic can be used only once and creates a lot of problems later.”