Venkaiah Naidu criticises ‘hyper-critical English media’
M Venkaiah Naidu said “truth and objectivity” will be the casualties if happenings or developments are covered from a purely “subjective perspective” rather than a broader cultural, historical, social and economic context.india Updated: Apr 07, 2018 22:58 IST
Vice president M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday urged foreign media not to form opinions about India based on reportage in “our hyper-critical English media”.
He said “truth and objectivity” will be the casualties if happenings or developments are covered from a purely “subjective perspective” rather than a broader cultural, historical, social and economic context. Naidu was addressing a gathering at the 60th anniversary of The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of South Asia in New Delhi.
He said foreign correspondents must be well acquainted with the culture, history, ethos, traditions and ways of life of a country before covering developments or any events there.
The entire country cannot be described as intolerant on the basis of some stray incidents of communal violence, Naidu said.
“In a vast country like India, some stray incidents of communal violence might occur. At best, those are aberrations. If a handful of religious fundamentalists indulge in violence, the entire country cannot be described as intolerant and that majoritarianism is being imposed. Nothing is farther from the truth,” he said.
“India is a flourishing and vibrant parliamentary democracy with a free press and complete religious freedom to its people,” he added.
In 2015, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had slammed an article in The Economist that described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a divisive man.
The party had dubbed the piece as out of sync with the ground realities and lacking objectivity.
Naidu’s speech comes days after the Prime Minister’s Office overturned an information and broadcasting ministry’s guidelines on fake news, which called for punitive measures like the cancellation of a journalist’s accreditation if found propagating fake or slanted news.
The Vice President drew attention to the need for contextualisation and cited the variation in the reportage on terrorist violence to buttress his point. Commenting on the reach of news and the speed with which it travels, he said it is imperative for foreign correspondents to provide “nuanced, balanced and objective coverage.”
First Published: Apr 07, 2018 22:55 IST