By Aman Bali
The Mainstream Media is playing State’s Agent to discredit and sabotage the Farmers Protest. A group of farmers resting near their trolley.
The Farmers in India are protesting against the three farm laws and two ordinances on the borders of Delhi. The protests started back in July when ordinances were brought on 6th June. The media has not only failed to acknowledge and accept that there were any protests since last five months but has also gone into a vicious campaign to discredit and malign the protesting farmers.
Why is media playing the State’s Agent.
This needs to be looked into from a very broad context and not the left-right rhetoric that is prevalent in India. The entire role of media can be understood and summed up as Denial-Malign-Discredit-Prove them wrong. Here is an important discussion to understand the propagandas that media has been parroting all around the clock.
The farmers protests has entered day 17 today and mainstream media continues to attack the farmers in one way or the other. We take a look at some of the vicious lies and propaganda that even the state affiliated media has propagated in these 17 days.
1. They are Khalistanis and not farmers.
This is an important tool in india to discredit any movement by attaching it with a symbol and then beating that symbol all day along. The news channels including Zee, India Tv, Republic and many others in local languages interpreted that the farmers movement is those of Khalistanis because of posters of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in the protests. It is important to understand here that the spread of protests is immense and it is literally like a shopping mall where you can go and buy any story you like. If you are fishing for Khalistan story you will get it, if you are fishing for Congress story you will get it. The media in this case decided to choose what they wanted to focus on. There were Bhindranwale posters in the protests and no one is apologetic about it, it’s not what the movement is and it is not even the point or talking. But what media ignores is the tall glaring posers of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev or Shaheed Udham Singh. This explains that there is certain motive behind the coverage that state sponsored media carries on. This vicious campaign was given impetus by some infamous journalists like Barkha Dutt by putting words into Deep Sidhu’s mouth and wanting him to condemn a dead man after 36yrs. The question is who benefits from beating the dead horse after 36yrs? Why isn’t Barkha so vocal about asking for justice for 1984 victims if she is so interested in the gone era and has no agenda?
2. They are congress people and not farmers
This campaign was concurrent with the Khalistan one and only the thinkers of campaign can explain how can people be congressmen and Khalistanis at the same time. This was given air on lot of news channels on prime time with their lackeys parroting it out about how congress was behind these protests. For those who are not aware this is again a very important mechanism deployed in india to discredit any dissent by labelling it as congress sponsored. Narendra Modi’s govt has a huge mandate of people and as such congress has struggled to keep its power very strong. It has struggled to keep its key areas intact even in the small elections of democracy. This has been interpreted by many thinkers as demise of congress. So any dissent in the country if associated with congress is considered as a move by congress to keep itself alive or revive itself against the popular mandate. Most people won’t even look at dissent news if it is congress organised. But here is the catch, not only have the farm unions managed to keep congress out of the protests but they have been very vocal about keeping all parties out of protests as well.
3. This is Shaheen Bagh part 2
Shaheen Bagh protests were against the CAA and NRC. Farm unions have maintained it from day one that they have nothing to do with anything but farm laws. Whatever their personal thinking or opinion is about CAA, they have been vocal about keeping protests about Farm laws only. Old videos of Sikhs protesting against CAA were dug by media aided by BJP’s IT cell that works in complicity with govt and its handles are followed by the likes of Prime minister himself. These videos were used to give an impression to gullible audience that these protests are like Shaheen Bagh ones and that the bigger motive is CAA and NRC. A lot of hardwork was done by BJP IT cell followed by likes of PM and Amit Shah in Creating polarisation by singling out muslims in the Farmers protests. Facebook profiles of Muslim men were profiled and linked to farmers protests. Aim? Discredit and sabotage the protests
4. These are rich farmer protests
It is very important to understand that media failed in all its campaigns to malign the protesting farmers because intel agencies gave statements that there is no link of Farmers protests with anti india elements. A new vicious campaign was started to divide the farmers into rich and poor. The select videos of farmers in SUV and cars were shown in loop with parroting and surprise that farmers can’t be rich. This however leads us to an entire different argument on why People in Indian cities don’t know anything about Punjab and Haryana. The state procurement data and MSP is cited along with monoculture of paddy and wheat by pseudo experts. Some of them even talk about tax free schemes and subsidies and make it appear as some sort of favour to the farmer. Interestingly no one questioned that why can’t Punjab model he applied in Bihar if it’s making people rich? Bihar on the other hand has shown how badly it affects the farmers if Mandis stop to exist.
5. Not all farmers
This is the latest in the line after all the propaganda failed. Not that they have stopped with the other propagandas but this one is parroted by the self acclaimed experts on Tv and all the BJP ministers. The talks between govt and Farm union leaders failed for the 5th time or let’s say remained inconclusive leading to frustration of Govt and it’s agents. The proposal sent by govt after Amit Shah’s meeting with Farm unions was rejected and agitation has been intensified. The govt has taken its turn to go full guns blazing with narrative that bills benefit most farmers and that it is select few farmers from Punjab and Haryana who are protesting. In the press conference by Piyush Goyal and Narendra Tomar where they explained the govt’s proposal, they were very vocal about how only Punjab is protesting. This narrative has been built in recent few days to create a sentiment that bills are good. To further this, some groups of Haryana that are politically motivated have given memorandum to Agriculture minister in support of bills. This new tactic of putting farmer against farmer is going on all day on Tv news and all of govt’s sympathisers on social media. The narrative however has no basis because the movement is supported by 500 unions from across the nation. Those trying to make it Punjab only movement have either not studied the movement or have their agendas.
It might be surprising to many people reading this but this is how dissent is curbed in india. It is painted in one way or other and then the public support behind it falls leading to fall of the movements. It is however unfortunate that media that is supposed to play its role as an unbiased pillar is playing in the laps of government.