On February 4, 2021, ANI, a news agency, reported that the United States has backed India's new farm laws and called these reforms will improve the efficiency of markets. The archive of the tweet can be seen here.
Based on the information of ANI, many other media houses also published the same information.
News18 Hindi, Swarajya Magazine, Amar Ujala, Live Mint and many other media houses published the same information claiming that the US has backed India's new farm laws.
Bollywood actress, Kangana Ranaut also retweeted ANI's tweet with the caption, "Listen liberals your father Gajni will also not come to save you... He ran... Ha ha."
A similar story was published by The Times of India and Deccan Herald based on the story reported by PTI, a media agency.
On February 3, farmers protesting against the new farm laws in Delhi garnered global support when International pop singer Rihanna, environment teen activist Greta Thunberg and many other international celebrities tweeted in support of the protest. Many right-wing ideologues in India then called out those speaking in solidarity with farmers and said it to be a strategy to de-stabilise the sovereignty of the nation.
The United States has backed farm laws.
ANI and PTI quoted the US States Department. They quoted three points mentioned by the officials:
1. We recognize that peaceful protests are a hallmark of any thriving democracy, and note that the Indian Supreme Court has stated the same.
2. We encourage that any differences between the parties be resolved through dialogue.
3. In general, the United States welcomes steps that would improve the efficiency of India's markets and attract greater private sector investment.
But both the agencies did not quote the fourth statement made by the official. The fourth statement said, "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 White House correspondent of CNN, Sabrina Siddiqui tweeted screenshot of the statements made by US State Department. She shared the image with the caption, "State Department urges "dialogue" on #FarmersProtests in India, signals concern over blocked Internet access: "We recognize that unhindered access to information, including the internet, is fundamental to the freedom of expression and a hallmark of a thriving democracy."
CNBC-TV18 also tweeted the US State Department statement on India. According to CNBC-TV18, US politician had expressed concern about internet shutdowns.
One thing to note here is that in the entire four lines, no specific statement supporting farm laws were given; a general statement welcoming market reforms by the Indian government was made by the US.
We also noted, ANI in the same report said, "Protestors broke barricades to enter Delhi and indulged in vandalism across several parts of the national capital during their tractor rally organised to protest against the Centre's three new farm laws. On January 22, during the 11th round of talks with protesting farmers, the government proposed to suspend the new legislations for one-and-a-half years and also proposed to set up a joint committee to discuss the Acts." While scuffle happened, what they omitted was the fact that farmers were permitted to hold a peaceful protest in Delhi on Republic Day. The farmers from Haryana, Punjab and Western Uttar Pradesh were granted entry in Delhi by Delhi police to hold tractor rally. It was later that the violence happened and the culprits of the incident are still under investigation.
It is not for the first time that ANI has presented incomplete information which can mislead the readers, some more examples of misreporting can be found here, here and here.
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Also Read: Fact Check: Rakesh Tikait Never Supported Farm Bills, Paper Clipping Saying Otherwise Viral