In an attempt to combat misinformation circulated about the ongoing farmers' protest, a group of students are conducting workshops to train farmers to use social media platforms at the Ghazipur site. The workshops have been ongoing since Wednesday, February 17.
Speaking to the media, Sanjay Singh, a student from Lucknow University said the workshops were started after many protesters asked them to set up their social media accounts, The Indian Express reported. While many of them had smartphones, they did not know how to use social media, he added.
The students train the farmers to set up social media accounts on their chosen platform, such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. For instance, in case of Twitter, the farmers are first taught how to set up an account, how to tweet, like, or retweet a post, and the kind of hashtags that can be used. Sessions are conducted every afternoon near the main stage at the protest site.
Farmers also have access to a makeshift library set up by the students of the All India Students' Federation (AISF).
Recently, Sant Kumar, a 28-year-old farmer from Uttar Pradesh's Shamli district, learnt to set up his Twitter account after attending the workshop. Kumar said the farmers want to join social media so that truth is reported and not fabricated content that has been circulating and propagating negativity about the farmers and the movement.
Jamia Milia Islamia student Abipsha said that it was essential for the farmers to share the truth as several media outlets have been putting out twisted and distorted versions of the reality.
Earlier, farmer leader Jagtar Singh Bajwa had said that farmers wanted to learn to operate social media after the false news about protests being vacated was being circulated. Bajwa asserted that the fight was not just about the farm laws, but also against those who are spreading fake news to weaken the movement.
Thousands of farmers across the country have been protesting against the Centre's three new farm laws for over two months. So far, 11 rounds of talks have taken place between the government and the farmer leaders, however, the deadlock is still on.