Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday advised foreign journalists who cover the subcontinent to not depend on “our hyper-critical English media” to form opinions about India. He also urged them to understand India’s context better before they report on the country.
“Stray incidents” of communal violence in India are “at best an aberration”, Naidu said at an event to mark the 60th anniversary of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of South Asia in New Delhi. “If a handful of religious fundamentalists indulge in violence, the entire country cannot be described as intolerant and that majoritarianism is being imposed,” he said. “Nothing is farther from the truth.”
He added: “India is a flourishing and vibrant parliamentary democracy with a free press and complete religious freedom to its people.”
Naidu also warned foreign journalists against covering news from a “purely subjective perspective rather than looking at it from a broader cultural, historical, social and economic context”.
“A terrorist is a terrorist irrespective of whether he kills innocents in Kashmir or Kentucky,” Naidu said. “But surprisingly some media organisations describe those indulging in terrorism in Kashmir as separatists or militants, while any similar incident in the West is immediately dubbed as a terror attack and the perpetrators as terrorists.”
He also cited the example of a New York Times cartoon mocking at India’s low-cost Mars mission in 2014. “Well, you might say good news is no news, but it cannot be bad news all the time either,” he said. “It is always better to avoid the pitfalls of stereotyping and magnifying only the negative realities.”