(On 19 November 2021, the News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA) asked media outlet Zee News to take down three videos linked to farmers' protests that violated the code of ethics. One of the videos, published on 19 January, used footage of decorated tractors to falsely show the preparation of a rally planned by protesting farmers on Republic Day. This piece from The Quint's archives is being republished to explain how it's an old video from Germany.)
Ahead of the tractor rally planned by protesting farmers on Republic Day, a viral video of decorated tractors is being shared to claim that it shows the preparation of the said rally.
However, we found that the visuals are being falsely linked to the farmers’ agitation and could be traced back to December 2020, while the farmers announced the tractor rally only on 2 January.
The claim along with the video reads: “26 जनवरी परेड की झांकी की तैयारी जोरों से चल रही है !!
जय जवान - जय किसान (sic)”
(Translated: Preparation of the 26 January parade is going strong. Hail soldier, hail farmer.)
The video uploaded by ‘IT & Social Media Cell Congress’ had garnered 23,000 views at the time of publishing the article.
A glimpse of the video was also used by Zee News in its package titled ‘ट्रैक्टर' से युद्ध की तैयारी ? ’ [Translation: Ready for a war with tractors]
The video was widely shared on Facebook and Twitter with the same narrative.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
On carefully looking at the viral visuals, we noticed a sledge and some Christmas-related decorations. We, then, searched on YouTube using keywords ‘Christmas tractor rally’ and came across several videos that were uploaded in December 2020 and mentioned that they are from Nenagh, Ireland.
A keyword search on Facebook further led us to a video shared by ‘Delta Agribusiness’ which deals in independent rural services in Australia. The video shared on 16 December 2020 was a longer and clearer version of the viral video and the description of the post mentioned that it’s from Ireland.
We compared the viral visuals with the videos uploaded in December 2020 and found several identical elements showing a reindeer, a Santa Claus and other Christmas-related decorations.
We also came across a report on Agriland, Ireland’s farming news portal, which mentioned that an event ‘Christmas Tractors of Nenagh’ was scheduled to take place on 19 December 2020 to raise funds by Embrace FARM and Billy’s Recovery, which is a not-for-profit organisation that supports survivors of farm accidents and their families.
However, we were not able to match the frames and the organisation told The Quint’s WebQoof team that they didn’t know if the viral visuals are from the same event.
Further, we could trace the longer video back to 13 December 2020, which was uploaded by Facebook user ‘Claudio Sist.’ The description of the post is in Italian, which when translated using Google translate, reads: “This is a great idea to celebrate Christmas.”
We also reached out to fact-checkers in Italy who suggested that the video could be from Germany.
Following this, we reached out to Correctiv, a fact-checking organisation in Germany, and they told us that the people in the video are speaking in German and the number plate of the vehicles suggest that it is from Germany.
The fact-checking unit of news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) reached out to the manager of Burchardt Transporte, a north Germany-based transport firm, whose logo was seen on one of the vehicles in the rally.
The firm’s manager, Jens Burchardt, told AFP that the video was from a charity event on 6 December 2020 to raise funds for children’s cancer treatment in Hamburg-Eppendorf.
“It took place on the day of St Nicholas on 6 December. I, too, drove one of the trucks. We drove from Bargteheide to Hamburg, which took about an hour and a half,” he told AFP over the phone on 21 January 2021.
FARMERS TO HOLD A TRACTOR RALLY ON 26 JANUARY
On 2 January, The Quint had reported that in a press conference, the seven-member Coordination Committee of the Samyukt Kisan Morcham had said that farmers will march into Delhi on 26 January with their tractors, trolleys and other vehicles to protest the new farm legislations.
While the announcement only came on 2 January, it is pertinent to note that the viral video has existed since 13 December 2020.
Evidently, a viral video showing vehicles carrying Christmas-related decorations was falsely linked to the ongoing farmers’ agitation.
(Editor’s note: The story has been updated to include a quote from the manager of a transportation firm who was involved in the event.)