The incredible and unmatched ability of Indian mainstream media to put journalism to shame on a daily basis is not entirely unknown to the country. So, in yet another massive fake news campaign aimed at cornering the Modi government, several media organisations and online publications claimed on Wednesday that India had exported what they called a whopping amount of over 9,000 metric tonnes of oxygen between April 2020 and January 2021. Further, to incite panic among the people of India, several news media outlets also claimed that this figure was a staggering 734 per cent year-on-year increase compared to 2020.
However, what the media organisations did not tell Indians was that the country exported only ‘industrial oxygen’, which in that form, could not be used for medical purposes. Further, the media, in its enthusiasm to spread panic and fake news across the country, also seems to have given the fact that the quoted figure of industrial oxygen exports is less than 0.4 per cent of the total annual production capacity which the country harbours. Leading the pack of news media outlets, which enthusiastically published stories of “oxygen exports” to other countries by India when it itself was facing a shortage were NDTV, Moneycontrol, Business Today among others.
While Moneycontrol deleted the story and regretted publishing the same, the other media organisations were not half as ashamed of themselves for spreading fake news. In a corrigendum, Moneycontrol said, “This article has been deleted because it portrayed a misleading picture of industrial oxygen exports from India and was causing unnecessary panic…The article should not have been published in the first place. The error is regretted.”
Meanwhile, the Centre has put the record straight, and said, “This is absolutely false and industrial oxygen exports are being mistaken as medical oxygen…There are two categories of exports of liquid oxygen, medical and others (industrial). During April-Feb ’20-21 India exported 9,884 MT of industrial oxygen while only 12 MT of medical oxygen. This annual export is less than 0.4% of total annual production capacity in India.”
A social media post is claiming that the export of oxygen from India has increased by 734% between Jan 2020 & Jan 2021. #PIBFactCheck: This claim is #False. Only surplus Industrial Oxygen was exported primarily in low demand months of Dec'20 & Jan'21. pic.twitter.com/ULf5bIpxSG
— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) April 21, 2021
The government source, which was quoted by ANI, further added, “Majority of these industrial oxygen export was in December and January when medical oxygen consumption reduced to 1,418 MT/day from 2,675 MT/day in September. This against near 7,000 MT/day capacity resulted in no threat to medical oxygen supply while protecting jobs in oxygen industry.”
Indian mainstream media, which has a fascination with putting out stories which liberals and opposition parties harp on to in order to corner the Modi government, has once again been exposed of its nefarious agenda. Many publications sought to insinuate that medical oxygen, which should have been given to hospitals across India, was being diverted to other countries by the government during a crisis. Now, however, such organisations stand exposed for their lies.