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Media disservicing the nation: Sashi Tharoor
New Delhi, Jan 10 (IANS):
Published on 11 Jan. 2010 12:14 AM IST
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Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor, once again under fire for his reported observations, this time on Jawaharlal Nehru, Sunday morning called a press conference to say that sections of the media were doing a disservice to the country with “inaccurate, dishonest, irresponsible and tendentious reporting”. Tharoor was caught in yet another controversy when he said Saturday evening that while Nehru’s foreign policy had taken India to a new level in the international arena, he agreed with criticism that it amounted to a “moralistic running commentary on other countries’ behaviour”. Tharoor spoke after British MP, Lord Bhikhu Parekh, delivered a lecture at the Indian Council for World Affairs (ICWA), during which he said Nehru’s policies presented India in a light of “moral self-righteousness”. Congress spokespersons criticised Tharoor for his reported remarks. Clarifying his remarks, Tharoor said: “I was summarising Lord Parekh’s main points I stated and I quote that Indian foreign policy grew from ours sense of civilisation and extraordinary contribution by Mahatma Gandhi and Nehruji’s articulation of our civilisation, heritage. “Both enhanced India standing in the world but also earned us the negative reputation of being a moralistic commentary on running world affairs that has come through very clearly through in your speech. It was a summary as chairman are supposed to do of remarks made by speakers,” he said. Tharoor advised the media to be more careful and and contextual in its reporting. “My remarks have been distorted...I am pained at the inaccurate reporting,” Tharoor said. ‘India should be seen as a serious player in world affairs, including in the world of ideas,” and said unless there was free and frank discussion on various aspects of Indian foreign policy in institutions like the ICWA, it would defeat the very purpose of establishment of such institutions. Congress “surprised” by Tharoor’s reported criticism Congress on Saturday expressed surprise at the reported criticism of the foreign policy of the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru by Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor. “I am very surprised by the style of Tharoor. He is a member of the Congress and his responsibility is to carry forward the legacy of Pandit Nehru and not to be critical of it,” party spokesman Shakeel Ahmed told agency. Ahmed said Nehru was instrumental in formulating the foreign policy of the country even before Inedependence under the inspiration and guidance of Mahatma Gandhi. “That is why I am surprised. Even after Independence, Nehru carried forward the policy of national consensus on foreign policy,” the spokesman said. He said the policy of non-alignment and the non-aligned movement in association with other great leaders of the world is well recognised and appreciated in history. “The entire world appreciates it. It was a new idea,” Ahmed said. Another senior party leader on condition of anonymity said they have taken cognizance of the matter.

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