Ever since the start of the novel coronavirus outbreak, rumours and fake news were rampant on social media platforms.
In light of this, an official Twitter account was launched by the Press Information Bureau (PIB) to fact check and debunk claims on 'Govt. policies/schemes'.
But questions were raised when PIB Fact Check on May 22 took to the microblogging site to rubbish a report from The Wire based on govenrment sources. According to the tweet, The Wire's report on ventilators at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital being purchased and substandard was "Fake News".
The PIB also tagged author of the report, Rohini Singh, in the tweet. The tweet said that the claim made in the article that 'that the Dhaman-I ventilators at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital are substandard and were purchased' was not true.
The Wire article is titled 'Behind Ahmedabad's Ventilator Controversy, a Backstory of Connections to Top BJP Leaders' and was published on May 21.
Singh replied to the tweet and called it a 'fake fact check'. "Second, the Gujarat Health Secretary claims the government of India through HLL Lifecare has given an order to purchase these faulty ventilators," Singh wrote.
She also said that The Wire was not claiming the faulty ventilators were purchased by the Gujarat government.
"It reports how despite complaints on faulty ventilators by doctors at the hospital, the Gujarat government kept defending them. Like PIB is defending them now," she added in a follow-up tweet.
Further, founding editor of The Wire, Siddharth Varadarajan also tweeted regarding the Fact Check.
"PIB/PMO, u had the whole day to refute The Wire story by Rohini Singh and THIS is your "fact check"?! My response: 1. It is Guj Govt docs who said ventilator is no good. 2. We never said Guj "bought" them. 3. GoG's JRavi is quoted saying GoI ordering 5000 (sic)" he wrote.
Without providing any other evidence, simply based on the word of the state government of Gujarat PIB put a fake seal on the report by The Wire.
The Gujarat State government was the very body that The Wire had alleged was part of the problem.
Netizen Calls Out Fact Check
After the PIB's response to the report, several netizens pointed out the fact-check was a meagre claim by the Gujarat government which PIB reiterated.