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  Opinion   Edit  27 Mar 2017  MEA, stick to the brief

MEA, stick to the brief

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Mar 27, 2017, 2:28 am IST
Updated : Mar 27, 2017, 6:35 am IST

In attacking the NYT editorial, the government may have exposed itself to the charge of being too touchy about criticism.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi
 Prime Minister Narendra Modi

The government has stooped to upbraiding a recent editorial in a top-flight international newspaper which criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for naming a “firebrand Hindu cleric”, Adityanath Yogi, as the chief minister of UP.

In doing so, the New York Times argued, Mr Modi revealed his “cagey game” of “appeasing his party’s hard-line Hindu base” while promoting economic development.

 

The spokesman of the ministry of external affairs projects India’s international position and responds to criticisms made by foreign governments or international bodies to which this country contributes. It is arguable whether the remit of the foreign office is to respond to newspaper writings abroad.

In attacking the NYT editorial, the government may have exposed itself to the charge of being too touchy about criticism.

A vigilant media is crucial to the democratic dispensation. Indian media organisations, including this newspaper, routinely criticise the US government and its leaders, and other governments. Other than countries like China and Pakistan, it is hard to think of any major government using its instruments and resources to seek to chastise newspaper writings.

 

The MEA spokesman noted that the NYT had criticised the democratic verdict in UP. This is factually incorrect. The paper was critical of the “shocking rebuke” to “religious minorities” that making Adityanath CM represents, a viewpoint shared by many in our own media.

Tags: yogi adityanath, narendra modi