Shekhar Gupta led The Print has been known to spread several lies since its inception. This time they have decided to spread fake news about the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. In their latest article, The Print has essentially reported that the Ministry is planning to hire private agencies to “snoop” on various outlets so as to “firm up” BJP’s 2019 campaign.
The Print article said that PIB (Press Information Bureau) floated a tender last month “inviting proposals from external agencies for “media aggregation, analysis and feedback services” with regard to print, electronic, online and social media”.
The article said that the PIB tender came days after the BECIL tender which invited private agencies to prepare a sentiment analysis report. The Print attributed their propaganda to sources saying that “Sources said the I&B Ministry and the PIB floating similar tenders indicates a lack of coordination between the agencies and may lead to the duplicity of work, efforts and finances”.
The article also said that the agency will be expected to give a file on press clippings every day, especially of negative news focussing on the Prime Minister’s Office. It will also be expected to make a report on the sentiment on Social Media. The Print termed it “keeping tabs”.
Rajyavardhan Rathore, the MoS of Information and Broadcasting Ministry today posted a video on Twitter slamming the report published by Shekhar Gupta’s The Print.
— Rajyavardhan Rathore (@Ra_THORe) January 5, 2019
Addressing Shekhar Gupta, Rathore says that his The Print has published a story focusing on the I&B Ministry ‘snooping’ on people with the 2019 elections in mind. Firstly, Rathore said wondered how The Print’s article appeared as “Breaking News” on its portal considering it was a public tender that was floated by the I&B Ministy and such public tenders are public knowledge.
Then he futher busted The Print’s propaganda by asking how collecting public information can be termed as “snooping”. He said whether Shekhar Gupta likes it or not, the government will continue to do its work.
MoS Rajyavarshan Rathore said that it is the job of the government to understand whether their policies are working or not and what people think of the government. He said this tender is to collect information which is available publicly so that the government listens to the people’s voice.
He also said that this is a re-tender because the earlier contract expired. He asked Shekhar Gupta that if the government was doing the same thing earlier when it was not preparing for the elections, then how come now, when it is on a re-tender, the government is purported to be using ‘government funds’ to prepare for elections.
He said the addition of ‘Social Media’ is the only aspect which is new in this tender from the last time. He said considering the importance of social media, it is imperitive that the government has ears on SM too, to understand public sentiment. “Snooping is being privy to private information, all this information is on public domain”, he said.
Rathore also took a dig at Shekhar Gupta by saying that if the government doesn’t listen, people like him complaint about it and when it does, they say the government is “snooping”.
He ended his video by saying, “you are supposed to inform public, this article was misleading, you should take care of this. All the best”.
Till the time this article was published, Shekhar Gupta had not responded to Rajyavardhan Singh’s video and neither had The Print.