IANS passes off satire piece as news on Pakistani PM Imran Khan, leaves Twitterati in splits


News agency IANS (Indo-Asian News Service) has lifted a satire piece published on a Pakistani website to pass it off as serious news prompting many Indian news outlets such as Outlook to reproduce it on their websites. The article syndicated by IANS to its clients claimed that Pakistani Prime Minister had read ‘chart upside down’ before declaring that the COVID-19 curve in his country was flattening.


[Claim: Imran Khan goofs up by claiming that the COVID-19 curve has flattened after reading his chart upside down

Fact Check: FALSE]

Among those outlets carrying the IANS article in question included Outlook and Newsd websites. The headlines of both the websites identically read, “Imran Khan reads chart upside down, claims COVID curve flattening.”

While the Outlook website credited the story to IANS, the Newsd’s article identified the author of the IANS piece as one Aarti Singh Tikoo, whose Twitter says that she works as the ‘Foreign & Strategic Affairs Editor’ for the IANS. Outlook website too carried the initials of the article’s author, stating it to be ‘aat.’

What’s the truth?

While making a claim on Imran Khan’s alleged gaffe, he IANS report said, “However, a political aide Salim Kheshgi, noticing that the Prime Minister had goofed up, quickly whispered something into his ear. Khan’s mood changed quickly, “Pakistan Today reported.

Pakistani Today ran the story by clearly declaring it to be a piece of satire (see below).

The website also left a footnote stating that ‘The above piece is a work of satire and does not present itself as the truth.’

Outlook has since has taken the story down from its website. Newsd too has removed the story. But fact-checking website Boomlive has reproduced the links to their archived versions. 

Aarti Tikoo Singh, the author of this piece, later issued a public apology. She wrote on Twitter, “I mistook satire for serious news. The hate-AartiTikoo brigade in its frenzy is projecting as if my mistake is the biggest ever crime. Yes, stupid of me; I apologise for my error. But imagine the journos who deliberately peddle Pakistani propaganda & bigotry against India daily.”

Meanwhile, Twitterati can’t hide their amusement on the gaffe committed by IANS. Even the Twitter handle of the creator of the satire has taken a dig at the IANS;


  1. Imran Khan is just the one who doesn’t even pay a dime to a satire or what so ever. He is focused n knows about what to do when.


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