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Don’t shun foreign media, talk to them: Modi govt fix for ‘biased’ reports on Kashmir

The Modi govt may also deploy senior cabinet ministers like S. Jaishankar and Ravi Shankar Parsad to counter negative coverage of the Kashmir situation.

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New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government has told security and defence agencies to engage more proactively with foreign media, and not shy away, to counter what it sees as “one-sided” reportage by some on the situation in Jammu & Kashmir, ThePrint has learnt.

The government may also ask senior cabinet ministers like External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Minister for Law & Justice, Communications, Electronics & Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad to interact more with foreign media, and offer their perspective on various issues relating to the country and the region.

The issue of foreign media coverage in the aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370 was the main agenda of a crucial meeting held this week within the security establishment, where representatives of several ministries participated.

According to sources in the security establishment, it was felt that large sections of foreign media was carrying out “one-sided” reportage on the situation in Kashmir, which was put under a severe communication lockdown after J&K was stripped of its special status in the first week of August.

Also read: From AFSPA to street protests, Modi govt needs new thinking in J&K with Article 370 gone

‘One-sided reportage’

Foreign media reports about a protest in Srinagar’s upscale Soura locality on the first Friday after the removal of Article 370 triggered an official denial from the government, before it eventually blamed the stir on “miscreants”.

“Some of the foreign media has been indulging in one-sided reporting. There are issues that the media will rightly focus on, but it cannot be completely one-sided,” said one of the sources who did not wish to be identified.

“It cannot be agenda-driven to suit one particular narrative. There has to be a holistic approach, and it must take into account the historical facts and the role of Pakistan-sponsored violence,” a second source added on condition of anonymity.

According to the sources, participants at the meeting expressed surprise at the fact that while countries around the world acknowledged Pakistan’s role in supporting terror, its hand in sponsoring violence in Kashmir has not been discussed much in foreign media.

It was noted by the government that when it came to terror attacks in the Valley, foreign media groups, especially the BBC, used terms like gunmen, armed groups and militants, while such attacks in the western world inspired the use of the term “terror”, the sources said.

Developing a thick skin also suggested

According to the sources, deeper engagement with the media portals was one of the numerous proposals discussed to counter such coverage.

Another proposal put forward suggested that India develop a thick skin and ignore foreign media completely, like in the US and China.

However, it was the former proposal that was finally adopted, the sources said, citing the effective use of foreign media by Pakistan in the information warfare that followed India’s Balakot strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp.

The defence and security establishment currently stonewalls foreign media houses, and there are strict protocols and procedures to be followed before one meets a foreign national, even if they are journalists.

Agencies prefer that foreign journalists interact with the Ministry of External Affairs.

However, in Pakistan, the publicity wing of the military – the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) – has a separate section to engage with foreign media. Regular interactions are also held with senior officers from the military as well as the ISI.

Also read: Upscale Srinagar neighbourhood in viral BBC video is the new protest hub on Article 370

This is an updated version of the report

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  1. I have seen many foreign media have India based reporters – these reporters are not just reporters they may even be spying for their country’s intelligence,
    The worst among them are some reporters of British media. who specialise is disinformation . These people enjoy the hospitality and protection in our country but when reporting they will always side the opponents of India. One particular journalist from UK had been reporting about the recent events happening in Kashmir withour setting his foot in Kashmir. He is reporting with another journalist from the other side of our border in Kashmir about what is happening in Indian Kashmir.. I cannot believe one can stoop so low unless he is a India hater or he has contact with the terrorists through his Pakistan reporter. It is surprising that Indian mission here do not report to the External Affairs ministry in India and report this chap in India is a real danger to India and should be politely asked to lerave the country

  2. I don’t think there is need to allow forum pressssss. Can’t they try their luck first in China for the Uighurs ? Better still in Baluchistan, Gilgit Baltistan. Where are the Hindus of POK?
    Entire minorities in Pakistan . Why not they try to see if Jews still live in Arab stated bordering Israel ? Some months earlier Israel on being questioned asked it’s critics ” where are your Jews” …
    That settled it.

  3. Information is a deadly weapon! Governments that shun it will fare poorly. The bureaucracy of both civilian and military arms of the government are less than adequate in that regard. Indian government needs to learn from the Russians and the ISI on how to conduct information warfare. It needs to have a separate wing and allocate adequate financial resources specifically devoted to purpose of conducting psych ops. Asking few baboos to talk to press is BS strategy!

  4. Managing the foreign media who are not swayed by the shenanigans of the government will not be easy. Where human rights and liberty are valued, no amount of suave talk is going to justify the unilateral usurping of people’s rights. I think the time the government has bitten more than it can chew.

  5. The influence of BBC, NYT, CNN and similar left leaning outlets is overrated! They are perceived as extreme lefties and jihad propaganda tools. They are vicious Israel haters, publish lies on behalf of Jihad causes. Downplay or hide the sufferings of non Muslim victims of Jihad. Policy makers, diplomatic circles, and governments are well aware of this.

    The most amazing thing this these people call themselves “liberals” but there is zero freedom of thought, tolerance for other faiths, in the jihad extremism these outlets support.

  6. If foreign media deliberately twist the news then it is worthwhile shutting it down. Foreign media is like foreign dip,moats, if they take sides against national interests then it is worthwhile asking them to leave.

  7. It is a sign of a maturing great power that it engages confidently with foreign media, puts its point of view across, does not block or impede fair coverage of something as important as Kashmir. These embedded journalists, with preferential access to the internet and sponsored chopper rides, do not carry conviction or make India’s case to the world.

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