Social media platforms have been abuzz with speculations of Prasar Bharati shutting down AIR radio stations in Kerala. An image claiming that the largest public broadcaster of the country has decided to pull the plug on local radio stations in the coastal state is doing rounds on Twitter as well as on Facebook.
The misleading claim was debunked by CEO of Prasar Bharati Shashi Shekhar as he took to the micro-blogging website to clear the air asserting that no such decision has been taken.
The purported image with an elongated message about Kerala radio stations getting shut baffled a number of social media users, who then circulated it further and questioned Prasar Bharati over its alleged decision.
"Radio stations, including those in Kerala, will be shut down Prasar Bharati is adamant on the decision to shut down local radio stations. The move is to merge local plants, including those in Kerala. The existing 7 stations in Kerala will be consolidated into 3 centers. The decision has been taken to reduce All India Radio to Kerala, Malayalam and Rainbow. Prasar Bharati has decided to go ahead with the steps for this," read the text on the now-viral picture.
Sharing the picture, a Twitter user wrote, "AIR Regional stations have lakhs of listeners in Kerala. Why this decision?"
As the speculations grew further, CEO of Prasar Bharati Shashi Shekhar took it upon himself to counter the misinformation. He not only denied the claims suggesting closure of AIR radio stations in Kerala but also warned of firm action against those spreading fake news.
"There is no such decision. Legal action will be initiated against media outlets for repeatedly planting fake news in this regard," Shashi wrote in response to one of the dubious tweets.
Notably, this is not for the first time that such a rumour has surfaced online. In November last year, PTI reported that CPI MP Binoy Viswam from Kerala has alleged that AIR is closing down government-financed radio and television channels, which gave rise to similar speculations. Shekhar had quashed all such reports back then as well.