New Delhi: A leading Hindi digital news portal used IAS officer Awanish Sharan’s picture for a news item related to a suicide case, and did not remove it for 18 hours. Sharan is the collector of Chhattisgarh’s Kabirdham district.
Patrika News Chhattisgarh Monday published the news item on its web portal about the suicide of a Bhilai Steel Plant manager and used the IAS officer’s photograph as the featured image. Sharan tweeted Monday saying the news was not even “remotely related” to him.
Level of “Journalism”. The news is not remotely related to me, but it shows my photo. Even after 18 hours it is there in their news portal.
Very sad.👇🏻 pic.twitter.com/GGcwPY3cMF
— Awanish Sharan (@AwanishSharan) April 20, 2020
The portal later removed the news from its website and the social media handle. Speaking to ThePrint, Sharan said he understands that mistakes happen but he was shocked and sad to see that the news was not corrected for 18 hours. “Journalists should be careful, especially when you work for a web portal,” he said.
‘Should have been reflected in their portal also’
The 2009 batch IAS officer also said he was not given any explanation by the portal, nor did they publicly acknowledge their mistake. “The journalist personally apologised to me but it should have been reflected in their portal also.”
The incident was condemned by other civil services officers on Twitter, including senior IPS officer R.K. Vij and IG of Bilaspur Dipanshu Kabra.
— RK Vij, IPS (@ipsvijrk) April 20, 2020
Sent this to their editor they will act
— Dipanshu Kabra (@ipskabra) April 20, 2020
Sir, Action should be taken against Patrika. How can a national daily use Photograph of an IAS so irresponsibly that too in a sensitive case like suicide.
— Shahid A. Shaikh (@shahtwitting) April 20, 2020
@PatrikaNews can you please clarify over the concern raise by awanish sir. Kindly rectify your mistake and do the needful.
— 🇮🇳Pawan Joshi🇮🇳 (@PawanKRJoshi) April 20, 2020
Awanish Sharan hit the headlines last year after he chose to admit his daughter to a government school. He was in the list of top 10 IAS officers curated by The Better India for his initiatives including launching a tribal motorbike ambulance catering to the needs of tribals in his district.
Sharan is also leading the fight against coronavirus in his district. He donated his entire month’s salary to the chief minister’s relief fund and has a district surveillance unit and call centre for the citizens facing difficulties due to the lockdown.