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Fact Check: No, Reliance Jio's 5G trials are not the reason for bird flu in India

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Summary

The viral claim is false that Birds in India are dying because Reliance Jio is conducting 5G tests. We found that the Center government has not yet allotted the 5G spectrum trials in India. Avian influenza occurs every year in the country because migratory birds bring the infection to India from across the world. 

A message is getting viral on social media claiming that Birds in India are dying because Reliance Jio is conducting 5G tests. This message is being shared in the context of the bird flu outbreak in India.

A Facebook user name Tushar Borkar shared a post with a caption, "birds are dying due to Jio's 5G testing in India and people are being folled by saying bird flu is spreading."
 

The same message is also getting viral on Twitter with the same claim.

Fact Check 

In our investigation, we found that the viral claim is completely fake as the Centre has so far not approved 5G trials in India. Moreover, Reliance too has denied conducting 5G tests.

After doing research on Google, we found a news report of a Financial Express according to which the government will commence bidding for the next round of spectrum auction from March 1, for which airwaves worth Rs 3.92 lakh crore is put on the block. A total of 2,251 MHz spectrum in seven bands ranging from 700 MHz to 2500 MHz will be auctioned. The airwaves for 5G won’t be auctioned this time.

The official Twitter handle of Reliance Jio in December 2020 tweeted that "Jio will pioneer the 5G revolution in India in the second half of 2021."

According to a news report of Business Today Leveraging Qualcomm's technology, Jio has indigenously developed a 5G RAN product that has achieved ultra-high throughputs, and the product is already tested by a Tier-1 carrier in the US. The 5G spectrum is not available in India for Reliance Jio to conduct trials.

Currently, only a handful of nations, including the US, South Korea, Australia, Switzerland, and Germany, are able to showcase 1 Gbps speeds for 5G customers.

Can birds die due to 5G Radiation? 

In 2018, a conspiracy theory was floated saying that the test of a 5G cellular network caused the death of several birds. This was fact-checked by an international website, Snopes, and the theory was debunked.

According to Dr. Eric van Rongen, a member of the Health Council of the Netherlands and the Chairman of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, "The levels of exposure would be comparable to those of the current (3G and 4G) networks, and thus very low, much lower than the exposure limits. The only way one could imagine the death of birds as a result of exposure to electromagnetic fields is with very high-level exposure that results in considerable heating. But the levels that are used by mobile telecom antennas are not strong enough for this to happen. There are maybe millions of such antennas around the world and this has never been reported."

“Even if there would have been 5G exposure”, it is “very unlikely that that could cause the [bird] mortality.”

Bird Flu in India

According to a report, Avian flu occurs every year in the country because the migratory bird brings the infection to India from across the world. The secretary of the union government department of the animal husbandry dairy and fishes said, “The outbreaks usually happen in winter months, starting from September-October till February-March". Unnecessary panic need not be created about avian influenza — a common phenomenon in India.

In conclusion, the viral claim is false that Birds in India are dying because Reliance Jio is conducting 5G tests. We found that the Center government has not yet allotted the 5G spectrum trials in India. Avian influenza occurs every year in the country because migratory birds bring the infection to India from across the world. 

Note: You can reach out to us at support[at]facthunt.co.in if you find any issue with our articles.


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