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World

ANI, Reuters partnership helped spread disinformation material globally

  • EU DisinfoLab transpired that fake media outlets like ANI have pushed a pro-India agenda in EU and UN bodies to discredit Pakistan.
  • Reuters unwittingly gave a platform for the Indian government's propaganda and misinformation, carried out by ANI.
  • Both news agencies struck an agreement back in 2018, covering the distribution of ANI video content internationally and the distribution of Reuters services in the Indian market
Published December 12, 2020

(Karachi) The Asian News International (ANI) and Reuters, which had partnered to expand video and news content globally, especially the South Asian market, have been spreading disinformation by the Indian government throughout the world.

Reuters unwittingly gave a platform for the Indian government's propaganda and misinformation, carried out by ANI.

India's press agency, ANI, has been involved in extensive coverage of material from the disinformation network, a report by European non-government organization EU DisinfoLab revealed. The report highlighted a network of hundreds of fake media outlets and organizations that it said have pushed a pro-India agenda in the European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN) bodies to discredit the country's rivals, in particular Pakistan.

As per details, both news agencies struck an agreement back in 2018, covering the distribution of ANI video content internationally and the distribution of Reuters services in the Indian market.

Pakistan, on several occasions, had accused India of funding a long-running disinformation campaign against it through fake news websites, including the ANI, and said it would raise the matter in global forums.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi stated that India is manipulating and misusing the international system for its own nefarious designs through different news agencies, especially the ANI.

He also asked the European Union Parliament to begin an investigation into the manipulation of the body and its legislative process by fake organizations involved in anti-Pakistan propaganda under a fully funded disinformation and influence operation, run by India.

UNHRC spokesman Rolando Gomez said the organization has investigated the particular claims and is aware that many accredited groups are pursuing their own political agenda or government political agenda.

India has been actively involved in faking news against Pakistan to promote its Hindutva ideology and divert attention from its internal affairs. In recent days, several Indian media outlets started anti-Pakistan propaganda on Twitter and other social media platforms to damage its image globally. However, India deliberately failed in its evil designs after it came to light that India used its fake news agencies to spread such rumors.

He said the vast pro-India, anti-Pakistan, fake news, and disinformation set up existed since 2005. It had grown vast with 750 media outlets despite exposure last year.

According to Disinfo Lab report, a dead professor and numerous defunct organizations were resurrected and used alongside at least 750 fake media outlets in a vast 15-year global disinformation campaign to serve Indian interests.

Clarifying its position regarding allegations of globally projecting misinformation against Pakistan in partnership with ANI, Reuters in a statement said it was “reviewing these allegations” in its position as a minority shareholder in ANI. However, it further said that Reuters News has “no involvement” in ANI’s editorial operations.

“As is the case with all our editorial partners and suppliers, we review ANI’s raw, unedited video content shot within India, and exercise our own news judgment about what we distribute and publish,” the statement said according to a Reuters story.

However, Reuters' clarification does not inspire confidence, especially for millions of viewers globally who rely on the network for its perceived objectiveness.

The fact that ANI has been able to share propaganda material against Pakistan by bypassing Reuters editorial checks successfully for years raises questions about Reuters' credibility and role in the entire misinformation operation.

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