In December last year, Reliance Jio announced that the company will start a 5G revolution in India in the latter half of 2021. The company used a statement by Mukesh Ambani and said that 2021 will be promising.
"Jio will pioneer the 5G revolution in India in the second half of 2021."
– Mukesh D. Ambani
— Reliance Jio (@reliancejio) December 10, 2020
However, even before the company started its 5G trials, many propagandists started spreading fake news that birds are dying in India due to the trials and the 5G technology by Reliance Jio and the government, and are giving it the name of bird flu. The message that the ongoing bird flu is due to the trials of Jio 5G, has spread all over the social media – on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
खबर फैल रही है कि Jio के 5G टेस्टिंग से पक्षी
मर रहे हैं और बर्ड फ्लू का नाम दिया जा रहा है ?
— Chunni Lal Sahu (@Chunni_lal_sahu) January 12, 2021
The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying has already confirmed that India is witnessing a sudden outbreak of Avian influenza or what is commonly known as ‘bird flu’.
The experts have also confirmed that the ongoing bird flu has nothing to do with 5G trials. Ananda Banerjee, an ornithologist and author of the book “Common Birds of the Indian Subcontinent”, says, “Though cellular network radiation has always remained a concern worldwide for birds and the animal world, it cannot be pinpointed as the main reason for sudden bird deaths”.
As far as Jio is concerned, the Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) Chairman Mukesh Ambani announced, “Jio has designed and developed a complete 5G solution from scratch. It will be ready for trials as soon as 5G spectrum is available and can be ready for field deployment next year.”
Jio has been pitching itself as an indigenous, safe 5G network for quite some time. Earlier this year, when US President Donald Trump asked Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani about the 5G plans, Ambani proudly announced, “We’re going to do 5G. We are the only network in the world that doesn’t have a single Chinese component.”
Replying to this, Trump said, “Oh, that’s good. Put a bid in.”
The government in India is yet to allocate the 5G spectrum and Jio has not started the trials yet. The Indian government is planning to earn big time through the allocation of 5G. In the last press release, the government estimated that the total income from the 5G spectrum would be more than 5 lakh crore rupees, which is more than the budget of Uttar Pradesh, the largest state of India.
However, even before the government starts the allocation of spectrum, many uninformed people have started spreading fake news. Moreover, a group of the people who do not like Reliance Jio or the current political dispensation, are fuelling the fake news over the death of birds due to 5G. Reliance Jio was targeted during the farmer’s protests and a large number of its towers were destroyed by vandalists.
All this targeting and fake news are going to weaken the resolve to roll out 5G because Reliance Jio is at the forefront of 5G technology development in India. Therefore, all the Luddism is ultimately going to harm the national interest.