Asian News International

Asian News International (ANI) is an Indian news agency based in R.K Puram, New Delhi that offers syndicated multimedia news feed to plethora of news-bureaus in India and beyond.[3][4][5] Established by Prem Prakash, it was the first agency in India to syndicate video news[6] and as of 2019, is the biggest news agency in India.[7]

Asian News International
News agency
IndustryMedia, news media
FoundedDecember 9, 1971; 48 years ago (1971-12-09) in New Delhi, India[1]
FounderPrem Prakash
New Delhi
Area served
India, South Asia
Key people
OwnerANI Media Private Limited[2]


Establishment and early years (1971-2000)Edit

Prem started his career in the field of photography, before being employed by Visnews (as well as Reuters) as a photojournalist, where he went on to cover some of the most significant historical events in post-Independence India.[8][9] A significant figure in the domain of news and documentary film-making in the 1970s, he commanded considerable respect among foreign journalists and film-makers, and were conferred with the MBE.[8][9]

In 1971, Prem established ANI (then, TVNF, India’s first television news feature agency) which gained extraordinary influence within the Congress Government.[8] TVNF played a key role in fulfilling Indira Gandhi's wishes of showcasing a positive image of India, having produced numerous films for Doordarshan, and went on to gain a monopoly in the sector.[8]

Smita Prakash, an alumna of Indian Institute of Mass Communication joined ANI in around 1986 as an intern and was later inducted as a full-time employee.[8] Daughter of Inna Ramamohan Rao, former director of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, she married Prem's son Sanjiv in 1988 which furthered ANI's access within the government.[8][9] The Caravan notes that for decades, ANI effectively served as the external publicity division of Ministry of External Affairs, showing the Army in a positive light and suppressing news about any internal discontent; the private nature of the organisation and the repute of its founder gave an air of non-partisan legitimacy to their videos.[8] During the peak-spans of militancy in Kashmir Conflict, ANI was the near-sole purveyor of video-footage, esp. with Rao having been recruited as the media advisor to the state.[8]

In 1993, Reuters purchased a stake in ANI, and it was allowed to exert a complete monopoly over Reuters feed as to India.[8]

Later years (2000-present)Edit

Along the 90s, Sanjiv had a meteoric rise through the ranks (along with Smita) with his shrewd managerial instincts.[8] By 2000, India had seen a boom of private 24X7 news channels; however, unsustainable revenue models meant that they did not have the capacity to hire video-reporters across the country.[8] This provided the scope for a massive expansion of ANI's domestic video-production capacities.[8] Asian Films TV was incorporated in 2000 to provide feed for newspapers and periodicals.[9] The Caravan though notes that most of its foot-soldiers were low-cost recruits, who had little to do with journalism.[8]

In 2000, the NDA government launched a Kashmir-based regional channel—DD Kashir, and ANI was allowed to produce its programs.[8][9] By the end of 2005, ANI's business-model was faring impressively on a consistent basis and it shifted its office out of Gole Market, to a new five-storey building in R.K. Puram.[8] ANI continued to be trusted by the upcoming UPA governments, to the extent of MEA choosing Smita to be a part of the two-member-strong contingent of Indian journalists at both of the joint press conferences between the incumbent prime ministers of India and USA.[8] ANI is also believed to have played significant roles as allies of the Research and Analysis Wing, India's external intelligence agency; many of its videos depicted protests by fringe lobby groups and activists, on the aspects of human rights abuse in Pakistan.[8]

In later 2000s, increasing charges of ANI feed and low quality of journalism coupled with the introduction of broadcast vans led to several national and regional channels unsubscribing them.[8] In 2010, UNI TV was launched by Yashwant Deshmukh as a competitor and it gave stiff competition.[8] However, Ishan Prakash, Smita's son who joined the company in 2011, procured multiple units of LiveU, a pioneer technology which were an advancement over OB vans and far more portable.[8] The agency also expanded its overseas bureaus and enlisted into contracts with multiple state governments and multiple union ministries.[8][9] A monopoly was again re-created and most of its competitors shut down, eventually.[8] By late 2011, ANI accounted for about 99% of the Reuters feed and in FY 2017–18, they were paid ₹ 2.54 crore for the services.[9]

Under a new management, ANI has been accused of practicing an even-aggressive journalism model focused at maximum revenue output, where journalists were easily dispensable with.[8][9] Archive videos were sold at rates as high as ₹ 1000 per second; in FY 2017–18, the firm reported revenues of ₹ 68.23 crore and a net profit of ₹ 9.91 crore.[9] Multiple employees have accused ANI of not having any human resource management system and ill-treating their ex-employees.[8] The Caravan as well as The Ken notes of the agency to have grown even closer to the government after Bharatiya Janata Party was elected to power in 2014; its effects have ranged from sympathetic covering of the BJP party-campaigns to the farthest possible extent to reporters being highly confrontational, when dealing with politicians from opposition parties.[8][9] Smita has been widely accused of conducting favorable interviews for the party.[8][10]

ANI has been also accused of misreporting events, by fact checkers certified by the Poynter Institute's International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), including Alt News.[8][11] The Caravan came across several video footages from ANI, wherein logos of random television channels from Pakistan along with Urdu tickers were superimposed on news showcasing India in a positive light; their video editors have admitted to forging clips.[8] Long-form reports by The Caravan and The Ken, along with reports by other media watchdogs have detailed of the agency having served as a propaganda tool of the incumbent union government.[8][9][12]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "ANI MEDIA PRIVATE LIMITED - Company, directors and contact details". Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  2. ^ "Terms & Conditions".
  3. ^ Shrivastava, K. M. (2007). News Agencies from Pigeon to Internet. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd. ISBN 9781932705676.
  4. ^ Paterson, Chris A.; Sreberny, Annabelle (2004). International News in the 21st Century. Georgetown University Press. p. 122. ISBN 9781860205965.
  5. ^ "Footaging It Fleetly". Outlook India Magazine. Retrieved 2019-12-29.
  6. ^ Saxena, Sunil. Web Journalism-The Craft & Technology. Tata McGraw-Hill Education. p. 16. ISBN 9780070680838.
  7. ^ How ANI reports the government’s version of truth, Caravan Magazine, 1 March 2019
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac Donthi, Praveen (1 March 2019). "The Image Makers : How ANI Reports The Government's Version Of Truth". The Caravan. Retrieved 2019-12-07.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Ahluwalia, Harveen; Srivilasan, Pranav (2018-10-21). "How ANI quietly built a monopoly". The Ken. Retrieved 2019-12-28.
  10. ^ Dhillon, Amrit (2019-01-05). "Indian PM lampooned for 'manufactured' interview". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-12-29.
  11. ^ Chaudhuri, Pooja (2018-10-21). "ANI - A tale of inadvertent errors and oversights". Alt News. Retrieved 2019-12-28.
  12. ^ Tiwari, Ayush (18 September 2019). "Meet ANI's 'European experts' on Kashmir. They're experts all right — just not on Kashmir". Newslaundry. Retrieved 4 January 2019.

External linksEdit