ANI Omits US Govt Reference To Internet Blackout In Story On Farm Laws

The statement said that the US supported India's steps for market efficiency "in general", and addressed internet shutdowns.


News wire agency Asia News International [ANI] misrepresented a statement by the US government on Wednesday that said "in general" it supported India's farm laws but also recognised that 'access to information, including the internet, was fundamental to the freedom of expression and a hallmark of a thriving democracy'.

The statement from the State Department was earlier tweeted by Sabrina Siddiqui - a reporter with the Wall Street Journal covering the White House. ANI did not attribute the source of the quote in its story.

On the new farm laws, the statement said the following: "In general, the United States welcomes steps that would improve the efficiency of India's markets and attract greater private sector investment."


The statement by a US State Department spokesperson is as follows. BOOM was able to independently verify it with the State Department.

  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.

  4. We recognize that unhindered access to information, including the internet, is fundamental to the freedom of expression and a hallmark of a thriving democracy.


Also Read: Democracy Index 2020: India Down 2 Spots, Cites Civil Liberty Decline


What did ANI report?

The news outlet's tweet and article on the statement has no mention of the last point in the brief statement which addressed internet and access to information, referring to the internet blackouts in the areas where the farmer protests are concentrated.


A snippet of ANI's article that quotes from the statement can be seen below.

The quote, "we recognize that unhindered access to information, including the internet, is fundamental to the freedom of expression and a hallmark of a thriving democracy," which is included in the WSJ reporter's tweet is not a part of ANI's article.



The article, however, mentioned the other three points - recognised peaceful protests as part of democracy, called for dialogue and, in general, welcomed any steps that India took towards making its markets more efficient and encouraged privatisation.

The Economic Times and Business Standard have republished ANI's article.

In India, the statement has also been reported by the Hindu.


BOOM has updated this story with a reply from the US Department of State.

Updated On: 2021-02-04T17:53:20+05:30
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