NEW YORK: A 40-second commercial on the farmers’ protest in India was played in California during this year’s Super Bowl, an annual football championship watched by millions of people across America.
The commercial begins with a quote of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr – “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” It also features City of Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer who says in the commercial that “we want you to know – our brothers and sisters in India – that we stand with you.”
The commercial, which was aired only in the Fresno county area and not nationally, was posted on social media with several users on Twitter tweeting the commercial. It also mentions that singer Rihanna had tweeted about the farmers’ protest in India.
Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, have been camping at several Delhi border points since November last year, demanding the government to repeal the three farm laws and legal guarantee of minimum support price (MSP) for their crops.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in New Delhi issued a statement on Wednesday to highlight that the Parliament of India had passed “reformist legislation” for the agricultural sector, which “a very small section of farmers” have some reservations about and therefore the laws have been kept on hold while talks are held.
Emphasising that the protests must be seen in the context of India’s democratic ethos and polity, the MEA in its statement said some vested interest groups have tried to mobilise international support against the country.
“Before rushing to comment on such matters, we would urge that the facts be ascertained, and a proper understanding of the issues at hand be undertaken.
“The temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible,” the MEA statement said following some high-profile celebrities tweeting over the agitation by the farmers.
The Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the National Football League and is watched by millions across the nation. The 2020 championship was watched by 102.1 million people.
A highlight of the Super Bowl are the commercials, which companies air specially for the championship wanting their products and services to be watched by millions.
A report in CNN said Super Bowl commercials “aren’t cheap” and this year, despite the economic difficulties due to the pandemic, companies dished out millions of dollars for their specially-made commercials.
“CBS is reportedly charging $5.5 million for a 30-second spot. That’s slightly less than last year, but for the first time advertisers will have to cough up an additional $300,000 to be on the network’s online live stream.”

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