While farmers from Punjab, Haryana, UP and other states have dug their heels into the ground in Delhi until their demands are met by the Centre, social media is rife with conspiracies — largely unproven ones about the ongoing protests being orchestrated at the behest of 'Khalistani supporters' or the Opposition parties or being the handiwork of lobbyists or the ‘award wapsi gang’.
Despite the lack of evidence to back these, several mainstream news channels accused by many of being pro-government have actually gone onto amplify such claims in their coverage. And where the mainstream media has been failing, an alternate media comprising independent activists, photographers, YouTubers and Instagrammers have stepped in and taken up the responsibility of holding up the truth.
Lakhs of the protesting farmers have a clear strategy — mobilise on social media on a never-before-seen scale and create an awareness about the challenges faced by farmers to counter what they claim to be a biased representation of their protest on mainstream media.
Who is this alternate media? And how is it working with farmers to debunk propaganda? We spoke to some emerging young activists and Instagram influencers doubling up as reporters and photojournalists.