After UK’s BBC, it is now the turn of New York Times to target democratically-elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It has come out with an opinion piece that tries to tarnish his image.
What’s in the Controversial Opinion Piece?
The New Tork Times has published an opinion piece with the header ‘Modi’s Final Assault on India’s Press Freedom Has Begun’. As the headline indicates, it accused PM Modi of “destroying Kashmiri journalism” and “intimidating media outlets into serving as government mouthpieces”. It claims that he is replicating the same model on a national scale.
Further, the story accuses the government of normalising intolerance and violence against Indian Muslims “with journalists surveilled and jailed, and the government using strong-arm tactics against media outlets to ensure favorable coverage.” The writer states that India might end up a lot like Kashmir. The writer has vented out frustration over the scrapping of Article 370 that gave a special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
“In 2019, Mr. Modi’s government abruptly revoked Kashmir’s autonomous status without public input from the territory’s people, sent in thousands of troops and shut down internet access. The shutdown lasted nearly six months, forcing hundreds of journalists to line up for hours to file their stories via a single designated site that had internet access. Each had 15 minutes to do so. Internet speeds have been excruciatingly slow since,” the author complains.
Modi’s re-trial by BBC for 2002 Gujarat riots is much ado about nothing
The opinion piece went on to complain about blacking out of news during the death of Pro-Pakistan leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani. It also talks about anti-encroachment drive by the administration in Jammu and Kashmir, last month.
“When Syed Ali Shah Geelani, a towering figure in the separatist movement, died in 2021, the news was either blacked out in Kashmir or mentioned only briefly. Last month, the government began a drive to bulldoze thousands of homes that authorities said were illegally built on state land. A leading Kashmir outlet portrayed it as a bold stroke against unnamed “influential land-grabbers.” There was no word about the poor Kashmiris suddenly left homeless or residents who claim to have valid documents proving ownership,” the writer said.
Finally, it concludes with allegations of PM Modi systematically debasing India’s democratic ideals.
Timing of The Article
It comes days after Rahul Gandhi, who during his London trip, launched attack on PM Modi, BJP and RSS with similar allegations as he claimed that democracy was under threat in India. However, apart from Congress leaders, nobody took his comments seriously as it was just an attempt by a man, who has miserably failed to bring his party to power, was using this tactic to defame the democracticaly-elected government by calling for the intervention in Indian affairs. Amusingly, the series of his allegations came after his party failed to make any impact in the recently-held North East polls.
A month ago, BBC came up with it propaganda piece on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in connection with 2002 Godhra riots.
However, it has not come as a surprise as it only looks like yet another attempt by the western media to defame India and PM Modi, who is likely to get reelected in 2024 General Elections. With India holding G20 Presidency this year, such reports are expected to frequently come in the foreign media.
India’s GDP growth hurt the dignity of UK: China’s Global Times on BBC row
India Government’s Reaction
Anurag Thakur, Union Minister for I&B and Youth Affairs & Sports, has slammed the report by calling it a mischievous & fictitious published to spread a propaganda about India.
“New York Times had long back dropped all pretensions of neutrality while publishing anything about India. NYT’s so called opinion piece on freedom of press in Kashmir is mischievous & fictitious published w/ a sole motive to spread a propaganda about India……and its democratic institutions and values.
This is in continuation with what NYT and a few other link-minded foreign media have been spreading lies about India and our democratically elected Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji.
Such lies can’t last long,” he said on Twitter.
He then said that some foreign media nourishing a grudge against India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi have long been systematically trying to peddle lies about our democracy and pleuritic society, he added.
“Freedom of Press in India is as sacrosanct as other fundamental rights. Democracy in India and We the people are very matured and we don’t need to learn grammar of democracy from such agenda driven media. Blatant lies spread by NYT abt press freedom in Kashmir is condemnable. Indians will not allow such mindsets to run their decisive agenda on India soil,” he concluded.