‘US Support’ on Farm Laws: ANI, Kangana Omit Crucial Points
The report comes after several American celebrities came out in support of the farmers protesting against the laws.
In a report dated 4 February, news agency Asia News International (ANI) said that the United States government has come out in support of the controversial farm legislations passed by the Indian government in September 2020.
The ANI report comes after several American celebrities came out in support of the farmers protesting against the aforementioned laws.
However, we found that the said report has misrepresented the statement by the US government, which stated four major points. While the ANI report mentioned three of them, including the part which says that ‘in general’ the US government supports India's farm laws, it failed to mention that the statement criticised the ban on internet and the steps that curb the fundamental freedom of expression of the protesters.
The aforementioned report by ANI makes the following points:
- The US government came out in support of the new laws saying that they would ‘enhance the efficiency of Indian markets’.
- State department spokesperson said that Washington recognises that ‘protests are a hallmark of any thriving democracy and note that the Indian Supreme Court has said the same’.
- ANI also quoted the spokesperson as saying that any differences should be resolved through dialogues.
The ANI report was further amplified by Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut.
Several news outlets like the Business Standard, The Economic Times, and Hindi daily Amar Ujala also published similar reports.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
We came across a tweet by Sabrina Siddiqui, White House reporter for the Wall Street Journal. According to this, the state department spokesperson made the following points regarding the ongoing farmers’ protests in India:
Fact-checking website BOOM independently verified these points with the US State Department.
- We recognise that peaceful protests are a hallmark of any thriving democracy, and note that the Indian Supreme Court has stated the same.
- We encourage that any differences between the parties be resolved through dialogue.
- In general, the United States welcomes steps that would improve the efficiency of India's markets and attract greater private sector investment.
- We recognise that unhindered access to information, including the internet, is fundamental to the freedom of expression and a hallmark of a thriving democracy.
Clearly, the ANI report had no mention of the last point in the brief statement, which addressed internet and access to information — “We recognise that unhindered access to information, including the internet, is fundamental to the freedom of expression and a hallmark of a thriving democracy.”
The article however, mentioned the first three points mentioned in the press brief.
We also found a report by Al Jazeera, which mentions all the points stated by the state department.
Evidently, a report by news wire agency ANI, which omitted a very crucial statement in the the US government spokesperson’s press brief on the farmers’ protest in India was subsequently picked by several news outlets, and amplified by many on social media.
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