Twitter has flagged a tweet by BJP’s IT Cell head Amit Malviya on the ongoing farmer protests as “manipulated media.” To counter Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, who had shared a PTI photograph of a policeman waving a baton at a protesting farmer and had condemned the lathicharge, Amit Malviya had shared an edited video clip and claimed that the police had never struck the farmer. Calling Rahul Gandhi’s tweet ‘propaganda’ and the edited clip ‘reality,’ Amit Malviya had added the caption: “Rahul Gandhi must be the most discredited opposition leader India has seen in a long time.”
However, Amit Malviya’s tweet was debunked by multiple fact-checkers, as well as photojournalist who had captured the photograph. The farmer seen in the picture spoke to Boom Live and showed bruises on his arm, narrating how farmers were lathicharged by the police. AltNews reported that Malviya had shared a clipped version of the video and the longer version shows two cops swinging their batons at the farmer one after the other. Watch the video of the farmer speaking to Boom:
The PTI photojournalist who took the original photograph, Ravi Choudhary, had also shared another angle of the protest, where the policeman’s baton can be seen hitting the farmer on his leg. Here is the photo that was shared by the journalist:
Twitter flags tweets that include media (videos, audio, and images) that have been deceptively altered or fabricated. It also takes action against deceptively altered media on Twitter that may “mislead or deceive people about the media's authenticity where threats to physical safety or other serious harm may result.” Here is a screenshot what Amit Malviya had tweeted:
Farmers, mainly from Punjab, as well as other states in India, have been protesting against the farm laws that were passed in September. According to the farmers, the law would place their Minimum Support Price (MSP) mechanism at stake and would ultimately lead to their exploitation by big private enterprises and individuals.
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar held a meeting with farmers in Vigyan Bhavan in the national capital but the talks between three Union ministers and 35 farmer groups ended in a stalemate on Tuesday after they rejected the government's suggestion of a new committee to look into issues.
The government, on its part, rejected the demand for repealing the laws and rather asked the farmers' bodies to identify specific issues related to the newly enacted Acts and submit those by Wednesday for consideration and discussion in the next round of talks on Thursday.