SRINAGAR: Anurag Thakur, the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, alleged on Friday that The New York Times was disseminating falsehoods about India. He characterized an opinion article published by the newspaper on press freedom in Kashmir as deceptive and imaginary.
“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 and fictitious, published with a sole motive to spread a propaganda about India and its democratic institutions and values,” Thakur remarked on Twitter.
“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 Modi. Such lies can’t last long,” the minister added
Thakur’s rebuttal was prompted by the publication of an op-ed in The New York Times, written by Anuradha Bhasin, executive editor of The Kashmir Times, which made allegations about restrictions on the free flow of information in Kashmir.
Bhasin argues that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s repressive media policies are destroying Kashmiri journalism, creating an information vacuum in a region of about 13 million people.
“An information vacuum hangs over Kashmir, with the public under-informed — or misinformed — about what’s going on in the region. Important news is suppressed, downplayed or twisted to suit government ends.” The author added.
“The raid of the newspaper’s offices in Srinagar in 2020 was punishment for daring to question Modi’s policies, and that draft amendments to digital media guidelines introduced in January could replicate this model on a national scale, allowing the government to block any content it does not like. Journalists are routinely summoned by the police, interrogated, and threatened with charges such as income tax violations or terrorism or separatism. Many journalists self-censor or have fled into exile overseas, and at least 20 others have been put on no-fly lists to prevent them from leaving the country.” She said.
“Some foreign media nourishing a grudge against India and our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi have long been systematically trying to peddle lies about our democracy and pluralistic society,” Thakur said. He said freedom of press in India is as sacrosanct as other fundamental rights.
“Democracy in India and We the people are very mature and we don’t need to learn grammar of democracy from such agenda-driven media,” he said.
“Indians will not allow such mindsets to run their decisive agenda on India soil,” the minister said.