After the Prime Minister’s Office lodged a formal protest with The Washington Post newspaper for a scathing article on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the influential US daily’s India bureau chief and author of the story, Simon Denyer, said he stood by his story.
Refuting PMO communications adviser Pankaj Pachauri’s charge that Denyer had “said sorry twice though you tell the media here that you never apologised,” Denyer, who is also the US daily’s India bureau chief, said: “I apologised for our website being down not for the story I wrote.”
“In any case my story touches on the fact that Parliament has been adjourned every day throughout the current session by Opposition calls for the PM to resign, which is a story I felt should be told, interview or not.”
The PMO said the story was “totally one-sided” as the journalist “never” got in touch with the PMO for its version.
In a point-by-point rebuttal to a letter written to him by the PMO, Denyer said: “I was told on July 30 that the PM has declined all interview requests till the Monsoon session is over.” At that stage the current session of Parliament had not even begun. There was no mention of the possibility of an interview afterwards.” Denyer still is keen to interview the PM: “Indeed, we remain extremely interested in speaking to the prime minister.”
The Washington Post also published a correction with regard to parts attributed to former media adviser to the PM Sanjaya Baru and political historian Ramachandra Guha.