IANS Apologises For Using Expletive To Describe PM Modi, Suspends Reporter

"We apologise profoundly to our subscribers, readers and the Hon'ble Prime Minister for the error," said Hardev Sanotra, Managing Editor of IANS

Narendra Modi File Picture: Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Wire news agency Indo Asian News Service (IANS) finds itself in troubled waters for using an expletive to describe Prime Minister Modi in a story it released on Wednesday. The story which was on the wire for nearly an hour, was published by many media websites using the same expletive but later pulled down after IANS issued a clarification and retracted the story.

The article published at 5.56 pm on September 12 was about the Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay Sanrakshan Abhiyan (PM-AASHA) - a pro-farmer scheme announced by Modi.

According to the IANS site, the original story was published by the agency at 5.56 pm and then deleted the same and issued a new story less than an hour later at 6.52 pm. The agency issued an advisory at 7 pm stating, “NEWS ADVISORY: STORY KILL (19:00) 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.”

While most news agencies deleted the story following the advisory by IANS, BOOM was able to access the cached story published by Economic Times which mentions the expletive used to describe the PM. A reporter with Exchange4media Nishant Saxena tweeted about the same and attached a screenshot of the said article. In the comments Saxena mentioned,

BOOM reached out to Hardev Sanotra, managing editor, IANS who confirmed that the story had been published and later killed with an immediate advisory issued to all subscribers regarding the “error” in the original story. In a statement emailed to BOOM, Sanotra said, “IANS deeply regrets the wholly inadvertent incursion of an unparliamentary reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in one of its reports yesterday. The error is unacceptable and unconscionable. As soon as it was discovered, the report was pulled off from the wires and a corrected story issued.” The statement further adds, “the reporter concerned has been suspended with immediate effect pending an urgent ongoing investigation. A show-cause notice has also been issued to the concerned editor.”

"We apologise profoundly to our subscribers, readers and the Hon'ble Prime Minister for the error and assure them of our continued endeavour to produce the objective, accurate and high quality reportage," said the statement from Sanotra.

Speaking to BOOM, Sanotra said, “We have suspended some people and started an investigation into the incident.”

It is unclear how the expletive bypassed several editorial filters followed by any wire agency before a story is cleared to be published by websites through an automated system.

BOOM had earlier reported how IANS on its Hindi site published a story based on an non-existent World Wildlife Fund report on Ganga calling it the most endangered river. Post publishing the story, IANS deleted it issuing an advisory but most media outlets are yet to take it down.

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