Upset over the lack of coverage on the ongoing agitation against the farm bills, farmers on Saturday blocked journalists from a national media channel from covering stubble burning in Punjab’s Patiala district.
Farmers in Daunkalan in Ghanaur block also staged a protest against the channel’s coverage, accusing it of being pro-government. They made the journalists delete the footage of subtle burning before allowing them to leave.
“This channel has never highlighted the plight of the farmers who are sitting on the road and sleeping on railway tracks in an attempt to protest against the farm laws. Now, they have come to take visuals of the stubble burning,” said Bharpur Singh, a member of BKU (Ugrahan), a famers union that lead the protest.
“That farmer burnt the stubble after the union asked him to do so. We are fed up. The government has not provided any solutions as of yet. You can lodge an FIR against me as I am responsible for this but any news channels who refuse to show our troubles will face protests in the future,” he added.
One of the channel’s reporter was also made to apologise for arriving at the spot without permission.
District president of BKU (Ugrhan), Manjeet Singh, said: “We shall hold such protests in the future as well. Television channels have been exposed for showing one-sided reports. Those that are neutral will be allowed here.”
“Even an illiterate farmer can figure out the one-sided reporting. Hence, this anger was justified. We are not against any reporter, but we are against the channel as we have closely watched them and seen the kind of coverage they are giving us. They need to be the voice of the people and not the government,” he added.
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