External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said that the foreign media has underlying motives and agendas that often skew the portrayal of India in international news outlets.
Acknowledging that India, like any other nation, is not perfect and has areas that require improvement, Jaishankar emphasised the need to critically assess the intentions behind the foreign media's narrative.
He said that the 'sliding of democracy in India' narrative being peddled by foreign media was part of a "mind game".
"We have this constant barrage (of negative foreign media coverage) from 2014. It increased after 2019, and I am sure it will become very shrill as we lead up to the summer of 2024, who'll constantly come at you and say you are less of a democracy, they will pick what they believe flaws of failings that we have," the EAM said.
He suggested that these narratives are frequently driven by specific interests, rather than an objective analysis of India's diverse and complex reality.
He argued that the reporting is not agenda-less or motiveless, and that it tends to push a certain line, influenced by the interests of those behind it. This, he implied, could lead to a distorted view of India's socio-political landscape.
"I am not saying we are perfect. I am not saying we don't have room for improvement... But look at their motive and agenda. They are not agenda-less, they are not motiveless. They are trying to push a certain line because they have a certain interest," he said in an interview with news agency ANI.
The minister also touched upon the broader issue of media bias and the importance of not taking foreign media reports at face value.
He hinted at the possibility of applying the same critical perspective to the functioning of other democracies, suggesting a universal need for balanced and unbiased reportage.
"Do not necessarily take what comes in the foreign media at face value... If anything, I could be passing judgements on a whole lot of other democracies," he said.
Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.
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