‘Don’t take foreign media at face value’: Jaishankar to ANI

‘It will become very shrill as we lead up to the summer of 2024.’

WrittenBy:NL Team
Fists holding microphones and pens, against the world map.

Hitting out at global media reports on democracy indicators in India, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said that there is no need to take foreign media reports at face value.

In an interview with ANI, the minister pointed to “multiple standards”.

“I’m not saying we don’t have room for improvement. Everybody does. We certainly do. But I would say, please look at their motive and their agenda. They are not agenda-less, they are not motive-less, they are trying to push a certain line because they have a certain interest, so don’t necessarily take what comes in foreign media at face value...because when you look at the multiple standards that they practice....you are talking of state of democracy in this country, give me any yardstick of democracy. Are your elections fair, is your participation growing? Are broader and broader sections involved, are your institutions working. I would say I am doing as well as any other democracy.”

The minister also said there are people “who apparently feel more confident of their support outside India, and inside India, they get support from outside India”. “So we have this constant barrage. We’ve had this from 2014, it increased up to 2019. I'm sure it will become very shrill as we lead up to the summer of 2024, who will constantly come at you and say you are less of a democracy? They’ll pick what they believe are flaws or failings that we have. Again, we must have the confidence to judge it.”

BJP ministers have repeatedly criticised the foreign press and global surveys critical of India as “mischievous” or “flawed”.

In India, every second foreign correspondent has been summoned by the Narendra Modi government to explain their reportage critical of ministries. Since August 2019, almost no one has been allowed to visit Jammu and Kashmir and report independently there. And journalists who write “negative stories” are given visas valid for less than a year, putting their jobs at stake.

Those were some of the findings of three internal surveys conducted in 2020, 2021 and 2022 among journalists in India who are either foreign nationals or who are overseas citizens of India cardholders. You can read more details in this Newslaundry report.

But what is it like to balance journalism with global relations? Watch this to understand.


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