ABP News invents ‘research’ to praise Modi. BJP’s Amit Malviya amplifies the fake news

The TV channel claimed that ICMR’s research has shown the national lockdown stopped India from going Italy’s way. The problem? There’s no such research.

WrittenBy:NL Team
media shots

There they go again, the Indian media, peddling fake news about coronavirus. The latest entrant to the hall of shame is ABP News.

On Friday, the broadcaster claimed that according to research by the Indian Council of Medical Research, had Prime Minister Narendra Modi not imposed a national lockdown, the number of coronavirus infections in India would have surged to around 8,20,000 by now. Instead, the country has managed to limit the number of positive cases to 6,412.

The channel went on to claim that, absent the lockdown, India’s COVID-19 death toll would have surpassed Italy’s and China’s by now. Italy has reported 18,279 deaths from COVID-19 so far, China 3,336. India, in contrast, has officially reported 206 deaths from the deadly disease.

That’s not all. The ABP News reporter on the story, Prashant, even shared a formula which he claimed the ICMR had used to make its projections.

There’s only one problem with this: the ICMR hasn’t published any such research. At its daily press briefing on the coronavirus crisis, the health ministry confirmed there’s no such research.

“There is no such report,” said Lav Aggarwal, joint secretary in the ministry. “It is my request that if we all collectively work very hard, we will be able to manage the cases.”

Not that such a small detail, as the absence of the research the report is based on, was going to keep Amit Malviya from spreading the fake news. He did what he does best.

Malviya is the head of the BJP’s IT Cell but that description falls woefully short of describing his role. It’s like saying Amit Shah is merely one politician.

If you don’t yet know who Malviya is – which is unlikely if you have ever heard the term “fake news”, for the two go hand in hand – read this Newslaundry factcheck.

The truth about Amit Malviya’s Shaheen Bagh exposé: An Alt News and Newslaundry investigation

Or, watch this episode of TV Newsance.

Newslaundry contacted the office of the ICMR director-general, Balram Bhargava, for a comment on the matter, but he was not immediately available. The story will be updated if a response is received.

Update: Scroll has a good explainer on the missing research. Covid-19: Ministry claim India would hit 8.20 lakh cases by April 15 without lockdown is questioned


In troubled times such as these, when much of the mainstream media is buckling under political or economic pressure, India needs free and independent media to report on the coronavirus outbreak truthfully and sensitively, to counter misinformation, and to ask hard questions of the authorities rather than propagate their falsehoods.

At Newslaundry, we believe news can be truly free and independent only when it's paid for by the people, not governments or corporations. As we say, when the public pays, the public is served; when advertisers pay, advertisers are served. So, subscribe to Newslaundry and pay to keep news free.


Power NL-TNM Election Fund

General elections are around the corner, and Newslaundry and The News Minute have ambitious plans together to focus on the issues that really matter to the voter. From political funding to battleground states, media coverage to 10 years of Modi, choose a project you would like to support and power our journalism.

Ground reportage is central to public interest journalism. Only readers like you can make it possible. Will you?

Support now


We take comments from subscribers only!  Subscribe now to post comments! 
Already a subscriber?  Login

You may also like