Foreign Minister slams American media for ‘biased’ coverage of India

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has slammed the mainstream American media, including The Washington Post, for their “biased” coverage of India. He was speaking at a gathering of Indian-Americans from across the country.

“I look at the media. You know, there are some newspapers you know, exactly, what they are going to write including one in this town,” Jaishankar reportedly told the gathering amidst laughter and applause.

The prestigious Washington Post is the national daily published from Washington DC and is currently owned by Jeff Bezos. “My point is there are biases, efforts really to determine…Look, the more India goes its way and the people who believe that they were the custodians and the shapers of India lose ground in India the more actually, some of these debaters gonna come outside,” PTI reported Jaishankar as responding to a question on the increase in anti-Indian forces in this country.

Such groups, he asserted, are “not winning in India.” Such groups will try and win outside or try and shape India from outside, according to PTI.

“This is something which we need to be aware of. It is important to contest. It isn’t because most Americans will not know what sort of the nuances and the complexities of back home, so, it’s important not to sit back, not to let other people define me. That is something which I feel as a community is very important for us,” he said.

‘Kashmir question’

“There is a big song and dance about the Internet being cut. Now, if you’ve reached the stage where you say an Internet cut is more dangerous than the loss of human lives, then what can I say?”Jaishankar said when asked about the Kashmir situation following abrogation of the Article 370, which he called a “temporary provision”. He said the provision was finally put to rest.

“This was supposed to be an act of majority. This was supposed to be majoritarian. Tell me what was happening in Kashmir was not majoritarian? I think the way facts are slanted, things are laid out. What is right, what is wrong is confused. This is actually politics at work,” he said.

“We should not let it go. We should contest it. We should educate. We should shape the narrative. This is a competitive world. We need to get our messages out. That is my message to you,” he said.

“I honestly believe that if you look at the whole 370 the Jammu and Kashmir situation, to me it’s mind-boggling. Something whose merits were so obvious, there should actually even be people who would think differently,” he said.

While Jaishankar silenced critics at the gathering, Indian media faced a serious crisis at home. It also reflected in a slew of studies. India’s ranking in the 2022 World Press Freedom Index fell to 150 out of 180 countries. The report was released in May by the global media watchdog, Reporters Without Borders (RSF). In last year’s report, India was ranked 142.

(With inputs from agencies)

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