News agency ANI had denied the allegations that it is running an operation to influence EU parliamentarians against Pakistan. ANI editor Smita Prakash said that Pakistan and its proxies are behind the propaganda against Asian News International (ANI).
Smita Prakash tweeted, “an attempt has been made by Pakistan & its proxies to hurt ANI’s credibility by hurling wild accusations of fake news.” She said that partners and subscribers fully understand the politics that is behind all this, and continue to repose faith in the depth reach and credibility of their coverage.
The ANI editor was responding to a report by EU Disinfolab, an organisation which claims to tackle sophisticated disinformation campaigns targeting the European Union, its member states, core institutions, and core values. They had alleged that a 15-year long campaign is being run to target the EU and UN to serve Indian interests.
They claimed to have “uncovered a massive operation targeting international institutions and serving Indian interests”, and EU Disinfolab named it as ‘Indian Chronicles’. The report prepared by them claims that the main objective of ‘Indian Chronicles’ is to run pro-Indian and anti-Pakistan, anti-China campaign on international platforms, and to consolidate the power of India.
The report claimed the operation conducted a massive fake news operation, created by obscure local media networks. It said that ANI repackaged those reports and circulated in mainstream media across the world. It claimed that as the reports were created by obscure news networks, it required an established news agency like ANI to distribute them. “Once repackaged by ANI News, the content from EU Chronicle is reproduced by other major Indian outlets, then reaching a domestic audience in India,” EU Disinfolab claimed.
Interestingly, they even claimed that Pakistani media also came under the influence of ‘Indian Chronicles’ to run anti-Pakistan propaganda. In one example they gave to illustrate how ANI allegedly spread propaganda, they used the copy of a report by Dawn, a major Pakistani newspaper.
Ministry of External Affairs of India also reacted to the report by EU Disinfolab and denied the allegation. Saying that it is Pakistan which is spreading disinformation, and not India, the MEA in a statement said, “as a responsible democracy, India doesn’t practice disinformation campaigns. In fact, if you’re looking at disinformation, the best example is the country next door which is circulating fictional & fabricated dossiers & purveys a regular stream of fake news.”
MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava added, “Disinformation is practised particularly by those who have records to hide such as sheltering international wanted terrorists including Osama Bin Laden, & seek unsuccessfully to cover up their own tracks such as on the 26/11 Mumbai Attack.”