ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Trolley Times

A Newsletter Communicating Farmers’ Protests

The representation of the issues related to the farmers’ protest in India in a newsletter—Trolley Times—is analysed. The newsletter emerged from the protest ground in response to the false reporting by the mainstream media, which questioned the identity of the protesting farmers and tried to malign the protest. Since its launch on 18 December 2020, a group of farmers, with crowd contribution, managed to publish 22 editions of the newsletter to counter the mainstream media narrative.

News outlets are important for farmers to express their problems, such as drought, suicides, debt, and agriculture policies. However, these issues receive little coverage in the Indian media. Agriculture news is significant because a large portion of the countrys population relies on agriculture or related industries. The National Statistics Office (NSO), in its 77th round of the survey, released in September 2021, recognises 9.3 crore households as agriculture households in India and another 7.93 crore as non-agricultural households living in rural areas (Wire 2021). However, the mainstream media often sidelines the agriculture news until it becomes exigent. The same happened in September 2020, when the Government of India passed the three agricultural bills1 in the middle of the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. Amid all the Covid-19-related restrictions, farmers in Punjab and Haryana came out opposing the new laws, which they viewed as exploitative and unjust for the farmers community, fearing that

the complete opening up of the [agriculture] sector would throw all the marginal farmers, who incidentally are 85% of the total farming cohort, to the mercy of private players. (Jawandhiya and Dandekar 2020)

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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