Today’s entry for irresponsible journalism is courtesy ABP News where a peasant woman from Chhattisgarh has trashed reports which, according to her, misrepresented her story in the recent interaction with the farmers. Yesterday, Congress President Rahul Gandhi shared a video on Twitter, a clip from ABP News where Punya Prasun Bajpai is talking of a female farmer who interacted with Prime Minister Modi last month through the NaMo app.
PM जी अपनी मन की बात सुनाते हैं यह तो सभी जानते थे। आज यह मालूम पड़ रहा है कि वह सिर्फ अपने ही मन की बात सुनना भी चाहते हैं । pic.twitter.com/dEqvklqtRR
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 9, 2018
Bajpai claims that their correspondent got in touch with the female farmer who, on being asked by PM Modi if her income has doubled, had replied in affirmative. The camera then pans towards a woman, Chandramani Kaushik from Chhattisgarh, who is shown walking around near her home.
The correspondent asks her if her income has doubled from the farming of rice (dhaan). Kaushik says, ‘no’. The voiceover says that Chandramani has ‘revealed’ that a team from Delhi had gone there to ‘instruct’ her to answer in a particular manner with the PM and say yes if the question of doubling of income comes up. However, we do not get to hear these claims. Chandramani, on camera on ABP News only says that she was ‘asked’ if she would be able to speak in front of the PM.
One Parshuram Bhoyar, Sarpanch of the village, then came on camera to claim that a team had come and instructed them what to speak. That Chandramani spoke what was told to her and that her claims of doubled income are not ‘visible’. The voiceover then asks whether the government has started telling lies?
In the clip, one can see how Chandramani is not the one who claims that she was ‘instructed’ to talk about her success story and lie to the PM and the nation. It was the claim of the Sarpanch, which was passed off as Chandramani’s claim. MyNation, a new website backed by Asianet news and being headed by former Mail Today editor Abhijit Majumder, which had earlier interviewed the sexual harassment victim of Congress IT cell, got in touch with Chandramani and found out the truth.
As per MyNation, ‘Kaushik had told PM Modi that her income had doubled after shifting from the traditional paddy-centric agriculture to fruit-pulp processing.
She had also told him during the interaction that while growing rice (“dhaan”) had been unprofitable, the new venture doubled her income. She said women had formed a self-help group and now marketing the pulp which brought them substantially more returns than just selling the fruit.’
In the interaction video uploaded by MyNation, it can be seen that Kaushik never said her income had been doubled by sowing rice/paddy. She clearly told the PM that the secret was her shifting to fruit and pulp processing. The key was ‘sitafal’ or ‘sharifa’ (custard apple).
Meanwhile, in a new video statement, Kaushik has debunked the fake narrative peddled by ABP News.
ABP didn’t even visit farm of Chandramani Kaushi and filed a malicious report on prime time. In their enthusiasm to push anti-Modi agenda, they didn’t even do basic fact checks. @milindkhandekar must run an apology on his channel for misleading his viewers. #UnfortunateJournalism pic.twitter.com/yCx5eRmP3q
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) July 9, 2018
Chandramani Kaushik clarified that “I had told the Prime Minister about doubling my income by processing the pulp of sitafal. They are talking about agriculture, but I had said that pulp processing led to a doubling of my income. I had told the PM that earlier, while sitafal cultivation got us around Rs 50, after training we get double the amount by processing pulp.’
‘I was talking about pulp only and not rice. Only and only sitafal has led to doubling of my income,’ she said.
It is unfortunate that the media has not only outsourced fact checking to the audience instead of being vigilant themselves but also blatantly started peddling fake narratives to defame Modi. At the time of this report, neither ABP News nor its Managing Editor Milind Khandekar has reacted to this.
Interestingly, when Punya Prasoon Bajpai, the ‘journalist’ who hosted the show tweeted by Rahul Gandhi was earlier spotted with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal speaking in a hushed voice where Kejriwal appeared to be telling Bajpai of playing up the part where he appears like a revolutionary.
Very revolutionary journalism indeed.