Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders have slammed The New York Times for its opinion piece on press freedom in Kashmir, written by Anuradha Bhasin, executive editor of The Kashmir Times. Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur called the opinion piece “mischievous & fictitious”, and driven by propaganda. Amit Malviya, national convenor of the BJP IT cell said that foreign media with their “jaundiced view of India” do not have credibility anymore.
Thakur said, “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 with a sole motive to spread propaganda about India and its democratic institutions and values.”
The minister said that this piece is in continuation of the spreading of lies about India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said that some foreign media hold a grudge against the country and its elected leader and have long been peddling lies about India’s democracy and society.
“Freedom of Press in India is as sacrosanct as other fundamental rights,” he said in a series of tweets, further adding that India does not need to learn the grammar of democracy from ‘agenda-driven media’.
“Blatant lies spread by NYT about press freedom in Kashmir is condemnable. Indians will not allow such mindsets to run their decisive agenda on India soil,” he said.
Quoting Thakur’s tweet, Malviya said, “Foreign media, with their jaundiced view of India, no longer either have the credibility or the heft to comment on India’s internal matters or for that matter its achievements…”
The opinion piece titled ‘Modi’s Final Assault on India’s Press Freedom Has Begun’ stated that The Kashmir Times, that was raided by government officials and police on October 19, 2020, might not “survive Mr. Modi”. The author said that the repressive media policies have destroyed Kashmiri journalism and intimidated media outlets into serving as government mouthpieces. Bhasin accused the government of creating an information vacuum in the region.
Bhasin said that journalists are routinely summoned by the police, interrogated and threatened with charges of income tax violations, terrorism or separatism. Many have been detained or sentenced to jail terms, she said.
“Since he took power in 2014, Mr. Modi has systematically debased India’s democratic ideals, bending courts and other government machinery to his will… if Mr. Modi succeeds in introducing the Kashmir model of information control to the rest of the country, it won’t be just press freedom that is at risk, but Indian democracy itself,” wrote the author.
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