On August 3, Sreenivasan Jain, Journalist of NDTV, rendered an apology over his tweet thread in which he tried to cast aspersions on Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin. He said that several netizens pointed out that his tweet was misleading as he failed to make it clear that the initial batches of Covaxin that were found to be ‘substandard’ were not shipped out. He further added that he should have worded it in a better way.
CLARIFICATION/APOLOGY: As many have rightly pointed out, an initial Tweet I sent out based on Dr NK Arora’s interview did not make it explicitly clear that the initial batches of Covaxin found substandard did not make their way into the vaccination programme. 1/n— Sreenivasan Jain (@SreenivasanJain) August 3, 2021
He said, “CLARIFICATION/APOLOGY: As many have rightly pointed out, an initial Tweet I sent out based on Dr NK Arora’s interview did not make it explicitly clear that the initial batches of Covaxin found substandard did not make their way into the vaccination programme.”
These were my personal tweets. NDTV’s focus for months has been on promoting India’s vaccination campaign – which of course I support completely. – fin-— Sreenivasan Jain (@SreenivasanJain) August 3, 2021
He added that he made it clear in the follow-up tweets in the thread, but the initial tweet was not worded correctly. “I did clarify that in subsequent Tweets, but the initial Tweet could have been worded much better. I am deleting the original Tweet. For any confusion caused as a result, apologies,” he said.
Though the tweets were based on a professional interview with Dr NK Arora, he claimed that the tweet thread was based on his personal views. He said, “These were my personal tweets. NDTV’s focus for months has been on promoting India’s vaccination campaign – which of course I support completely.”
Netizens called out Jain for delayed clarification
Netizens were not amused with the clarification as it came out hours after the initial tweet. Some pointed out that he has already caused panic among people and such clarification should have come immediately once he was called out for spreading misinformation.
So irresponsible. The “clarifying” tweet came one hour later yesterday. So many have taken Covaxin (including me). https://t.co/CzEWpiNZb4— Tarun Shukla (@shukla_tarun) August 3, 2021
Many even wondered if the original tweet was deliberate and part of bigger conspiracy under ‘toolkit’ to defame India.
That was deliberate. Nothing unexpected from @ndtv toolkit media. Only your ecosystem takes you seriously. Carry on with your hitjob journalism. It doesn’t make ANY DIFFERENCE.@SreenivasanJain https://t.co/axPsymL7QX— Govind Raj (@govindraj70) August 3, 2021
It must be mentioned that Twitter did not flag Jain’s tweet as misleading even though there was ample evidence to show otherwise.
Sreenivasan Jain’s misleading tweet may cause vaccine hesitancy
On Monday, Sreenivasan took to Twitter to make a startling revelation that Dr N K Arora, Chairperson of National Vaccine Advisory Group, said that the initial batches of India-made Chinese coronavirus vaccine Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin ‘were not of the right quality. While Dr Arora clearly mentioned in his interview that the batch that was substandard was not shipped out, Jain did not mention the point in the initial tweet. His tweet had gone viral and attracted thousands of likes and retweets, with people raising questions over the vaccination program.
The tweet where he had mentioned that those vaccines were not shipped out did not get much attention compared to the first tweet with misleading information. He deleted the tweet before it got flagged by Twitter as misleading.