ANI quoted NGOs, experts which do not exist for criticising Pak, China, reveals investigation

Photo: Cover photo ANI Facebook page

EU DisinfoLab, a European non-profit group, has put the ANI, a leading Indian news agency, in its crosshairs for using quotes and statements from think tanks and experts which do not exist.

“The investigation looks into a number of non-existent organisations, bloggers and journalists who are regularly quoted by Asian News International (ANI). ANI is an Indian news agency that plays a relevant role in the country’s information ecosystem, providing content for many well-established media across India…,” read the press release of EU Disinfolab.

ANI has been repeatedly quoting a think tank that was dissolved in 2014 and therefore no longer exists, the Brussels-based NGO said.

“A think tank, that we had previously linked to the Srivastava group and that was legally dissolved in 2014, is now quoted about twice a week by ANI. The think tank’s website falsely mentions real Canadian university professors as participants in a conference that they never attended, even concocting false quotes by these academics. We had already observed this identity-hijacking pattern in our previous Indian Chronicles investigation,” read EU Disinfolab’s statement.

It also alleged that the Indian News Agency has been using quotes from a journalist and several bloggers and supposed geopolitical experts who do not exist.

“The narratives pushed by these fake personae and/or organisations are almost entirely about criticising Pakistan and China, countries that are not India’s greatest allies on the international stage. These fake experts or think tanks are quoted almost solely by ANI and then republished across several Indian media outlets. Besides ANI and those outlets republishing its content, barely any other established media covered the reports produced by these ‘Bad Sources’ (BS) – the name we gave to this investigation,” it added.

Fake personae, self-described as James Bond fans, basketball players and management consultants, became geopolitical experts quoted by ANI numerous times on topics such as Pakistan’s army doctrines and China’s ‘wolf warrior diplomacy’.

Two previous EU DisinfoLab investigations have revealed that ANI regularly quoted the defunct ‘EP Today’ and ‘EU Chronicles’, two fake media outlets supposedly specialising in EU affairs that were, in fact, created to push anti-Pakistan/China narratives in India.