As if we didn’t have enough controversies around us, IANS (Indo-Asian News Service) created another one after publishing an article that referred to the PM as Narendra Bak***d Modi. What’s more? Several news portals published the article as-it-is.

As you’d expect, the article has now obviously been taken down by IANS and other news agencies that had published it, but the damage has been done.

The article in which the expletive was used was about the Union Cabinet approving a pro-farmer scheme called, “Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay Sanrakshan Abhiyan” (PM-AASHA).

In just the second paragraph of the article, PM Modi was referred to as Narendra Bak***d Modi. The article mentioned,

“The new scheme, “Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay Sanrakshan Abhiyan” (PM-AASHA), was approved at a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Bakc***d Modi.”

Firstpost managed to save a screenshot of the article in question here. It even managed to access its web cache, from which the article can still be accessed. The direct link to the article has been removed.

Narendra Bak***d Modi
Screenshot of the article in question

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According to Firstpost, the correct version of the article was issued at 6:44 pm, while the original story was published at 5:56 pm.

In fact, an advisory was also issued 16 minutes later, warning editors not to publish the erroneous story.

The advisory said, “Attention Editors: IANS is withdrawing a story “Cabinet approves scheme on remunerative crop prices” which moved at 1756 hours. It contains inaccuracies. Please guard against its publication. A substitute version has moved at 1844 hours. Editor”.

Even though the corrected version of the article was issued in less than an hour by the news agency, such errors cannot be overlooked.

While it is normal to have grammatical or other similar errors in an article,

referring to the Prime Minister as ‘Narendra Bak***d Modi’ cannot be an act of negligence.

It is shocking to see IANS, which claims itself to be India’s largest independent newswire, publish a story with such a gross error.

Given the atmosphere that surrounds independent journalism in the country today, such stories could have widespread implications on the independent journalists at large.

For once, let’s overlook the mistake on part of IANS. The fact that reputed news agencies went ahead and published the story from IANS without noticing the error is startling, to say the least.

The error is sure to cost some editors their sleep, and in some cases, maybe their jobs too.

[Update]

After the error was reported in several news portals, IANS issued a well-worded apology. In a statement from IANS managing editor Hardev Sanotra, he said, “IANS deeply regrets the wholly inadvertent incursion of an unparliamentary reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in one of its reports yesterday.”

He accepted that the error was “unacceptable and unconscionable” and it was withdrawn “as soon as it was discovered”.

The reporter, as expected, has been suspended with immediate effect and a “show-cause notice” has been issued against the editor.

“IANS has always strived to uphold the values of accuracy, objectivity and rigour in its reportage and remains committed to the highest norms of journalistic ethics and excellence.”

“But anyone who is seriously associated with the media knows only too well that inadvertent mistakes, however egregious, can and sometimes do unfortunately take place. This being one such instance, perhaps the first in the over 25 year history of our organisation.

After the apology, Firstpost, which was first to report this error, retracted its article, which looked odd to say the least.

A tweet by Firstpost citing why they decided to retract their story

It is bizarre to think what was going on in the reporter’s mind when he made that error. He didn’t expect to get away from it, did he? Perhaps he intended to make this buzz, even if it came at the cost of his journalistic career.


Sources: Firstpost, The Print, NewsBytes + more


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