Military Veterans Question ANI’s Ethics, Allege Bias Towards Govt
Military veterans have flagged ANI’s biased and ‘defamatory’ coverage of a petition filed by them earlier this month.
Military veterans have flagged ANI’s biased and ‘defamatory’ coverage of a petition filed by them earlier this month. (Photo: Altered by The Quint)

Military Veterans Question ANI’s Ethics, Allege Bias Towards Govt

More than 400 military veterans have written a letter to news agency Thomson Reuters, to complain about its partner Asian News International (ANI) over alleged bias in its news reportage towards the ruling dispensation.

“We believe that ANI has acted at the behest of India’s ruling party to manipulate quotes and defame our honourable intentions,” Major Priyadarshi Chowdhury (retd) said, in the letter.

The veterans also flagged ANI’s biased and ‘defamatory’ coverage of a petition filed by them earlier in the month before President Ram Nath Kovind and the Election Commission, on the rampant politicisation of the armed forces for electoral gains.

Also Read : Veterans’ Letter to President Kovind: Some Deny, Others Endorse

In its coverage about the letter to the president, ANI had quoted former army vice-chief, Lt General ML Naidu, as saying: “No, my consent was not taken for any such letter and neither have I written any such letter”.

Naidu, however, had alleged that ANI had misquoted him.

Similarly, ANI had quoted two other former armed forces chiefs denying signing the letter.

However, as The Telegraph points out, Major Chowdhury, who had written the letter to the president, had then released a mail-chain online to show that the two officers had endorsed the contents.

These discrepancies, in ANI’s reportage, have been enlisted in the letter.

Also Read : Veterans Split Over ‘Politicisation of Armed Forces’ Letter

“In our opinion, ANI’s conduct tantamounts to being perfidious with a view to influence the ongoing elections, in India, in a biased manner,” the letter said.

Major Chowdhury also asked Reuters to furnish the following information:

  • How Thomson Reuters evaluates the editorial practices of its strategic partners, to the end of assuring journalistic balance and editorial quality?
  • Whether Thomson Reuters evaluated or examined the practices, political affiliations, and reputation of ANI prior to expanding its strategic partnership in June 2018?
  • Regarding the above, if so, what was Thomson Reuters’s finding about ANI? If not, on what basis does Reuters evaluate the quality and validity of editorial material received from its partners?
  • Whether Thomson Reuters believes that ANI’s motivated misreporting of our genuine and Constitutional appeal meets its own standards for editorial propriety. It is up to Thomson Reuters to evaluate whether such conduct by an investee company meets your mission statement of “...we do business according to the highest standards of ethical and responsible conduct”.

“Thomson Reuters commands respect and trust the world over, and in recognition of this, we hope for a reply addressing our concerns,” the letter said.

(With inputs from The Telegraph India)

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