Does Manmohan Singh not trust Indian media?

Manmohan Singh, prime minister of the world’s largest democracy, completes six years in office on May 22 without once being subjected to a prerequisite of democracy—hard-nosed questioning by journalists—print, television, radio or internet—in face-to-face, one-on-one, on-the-record interviews.

He will, however, seek the safety of the crowd once again when he addresses the media at a conference on Monday next, May 24, his second such interaction in 2,160 days. Does Manmohan Singh not trust the Indian media? Or does he think he is not answerable to the Indian people for his programmes and policies?

Is this a wise position—the PM dons the cap of the country’s brand ambassador when he goes abroad, but leaves his ministers to do all the talking (and cross-talking) back home? Or is this just a safe option, when Congress president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi too doesn’t subject herself to interrogation?

Facsimile: courtesy Mail Today

External reading: Does the PM not trust the Indian media?

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12 Responses to “Does Manmohan Singh not trust Indian media?”

  1. DailyBread Says:

    First Indian prime minister from the state of Assam cannot be subjected to any prerequisite of democracy. Unfortunately for last six years we were also blessed with one of the worst opposition in the history of democratic India. Sad…..

  2. Aruna Says:

    Indian media…sigh…does it really speak for us?

  3. harkol Says:

    I respect MMS a lot.

    But, I think it is best MMS sticks to press releases and written answers to press questions. No one can understand what he says in his press conferences or speeches.

    :-(

  4. Vikram Hegde Says:

    I think it is because he does not need to get elected that he does not need to do such things. By this I mean it is not his persona that the congress party’s success depends upon.

    It’s not like he is gaffe prone or anything that he needs to be kept away from the media. I remember a walk the talk interview of his with Shekar Gupta before he became PM. He conveyed a lot with utmost ease and without faltering or uttering one word that could be taken out of context.

  5. Abhi Says:

    No, not that he does not trust media. Just that our prime minister is an incompetent loser who can’t even control a bunch of kids, let alone media.

  6. Mysore Peshva Says:

    With due respect, I must say that Indian journalists tend to…

    1. …seldom ask questions by turn. They like pounce on you all at once — just as a crowd rushes to board a bus at the KSRTC suburban bus stand.

    2. …seldom ask succinct, value-neutral questions — most journalists are verbose, opinionated, and find it hard to get to the point of a question.

    3. …frequently ask questions in a personal or offensive or unfair manner, which distracts from the issue being discussed.

    4. …commit logical fallacies frequently — most journalists are untrained in lateral reasoning or in small group rhetoric.

    5. …play up quotations selectively and regardless of context.

    6. …play annoying “jhinchak” music in the background even while broadcasting a serious discussion/intervew — a thoughtful, calm debate does not seem to fit their craving for sensationalist bombast.

    7. …seldom have a history of excellence in their jobs — not even journalists who cover Parliament or South Block.

    8. …frequently seem to be half-educated but full-opinionated zealots, mostly of the pseudo-secular sort, with regard to both India’s democracy, constitution, history and culture.

    Heck, if I were PM, especially one as scholarly or thoughtful — if useless — as Manmohan Singh, I would’t care for Indian journalists either!

  7. Somebody Says:

    First of all where is the media today? They are all busy covering cricket, cricket and more cricket. Except that what else are they doing? A bunch of jokers, brokers and wet crackers- that is the media today. Look at the quality of reporting, comments, coverage etc. Today’s media is just a mockery. All they publish is just glamour, scandal of spicy nature and more cricket. Any paper, any channel it is all one and the same. Why the PM should waste his time attending to such small timers?….

  8. Roshan Says:

    to add to Vikram Hegde’s comment.

    MMS is not a politician. He is a economist. He is a smart man, who understands the economics but not the politics.

    On the other hand, Indian media is 5th class, specially the private news channels.

  9. H.R.Bapu Satyanarayana Says:

    If corrupt and evil men do bad things it is natural and nobody feels surprised but the moot question is why is MMS who is admittedly a man of impeccable honesty and integrity tolerate silently all evils going on under his very nose and there lies the tragedy for India

  10. Mysore Peshva Says:

    The below comments on Indian journalists are from Sucheta Dalal’s blog of 3 Dec. 2008, a few days after the Mumbai attacks ended. Ms. Dalal writes:

    Here is something sent by my friend George Thomas. As a member of the [media] fraternity, I offer it without comment.

    Ten problems with the 24-hour TV news reporting.

    1) Speculative, not fact-based. The numbers of gunmen entering Bombay dropped from 20-25 to 10 across three days and from 5-7 at Taj to 4; 7-10 at Oberoi/Trident to 2. This causes needless panic; many of us still think there are gunmen out there. Ditto vis-à-vis boat routes to enter Bombay (one day Badhwar Park, next day Gateway of India). Don’t report what is just said and can’t be verified – or at least question statements from politicians!
    Otherwise, it’s like reporting rumour: which is what happened Friday afternoon when channels reported non-existent gunfire at several places.

    2) Unquestioning. How many gunmen were there? How many people actually died? How many boats came into Mumbai? How did the Wadi Bandar and Vile Parle blasts take place? How could 2 gunmen hold up a 350-plus-room twin hotel like the Trident/Oberoi?
    These are just the most basic – questions off the top of my head. Never heard any of them asked. I’m not even going into the lack of questions around ‘Pak’ involvement.

    3) Class-biased. Where was VT on our TV screens, even though that was attacked at the same time as the two hotels/Chabad House – and which 40-lakh Bombayites use? After the first night, VT station and all the hospitals where the injured were taken — Cama, JJ, St George, Bombay — were taken off our radar (even though they are all in south Bombay, minutes from where the media was gathered in full force).

    4) Opinionated, not fact-based. What does ‘Pakistani involvement’ mean? No distinction between Pakistani elements and the Pakistani state: particularly given the complex political situation in Pakistan; I have yet to hear one anchor or reporter ask the question: what’s the proof? (In a hypothetical case, if a cell phone with calls to India were found somewhere else in the world, does it indicate that ‘India was involved’?)

    5) Simplistic. The coverage became a parable of good vs. evil; ‘bravehearts vs. cowards’ ‘unsung heroes vs. villains’, which has now swung to ‘Pakistan vs. India’.

    6) Stupid. What exactly are victims of gunmen supposed to say when asked how they feel? ‘Did you feel scared’? (No, I felt elated after spending 10 hours hearing bombs explode around me!!!) Many such stupid questions including those asked to Ratan Tata on Thursday evening.

    7) Invasive. The NDTV interview with Sabina Sehgal Saikia’s husband when all the facts pointed to her probable death is a case in point.
    Dangerous. Giving away the locations of those stuck or hidden in rooms/halls at the two hotels. Ditto with jingoism masquerading as patriotism/nationalism in the ‘Pakistan’ vs. ‘India’ tenor of reporting.

    9) Loaded. Constant use of emotionally-loaded terms: ‘terrorists’ not ‘Gunmen’, ‘dastardly’, ‘heinous’, ‘cowardly deeds’ et al. A major malapropist is Arnab Goswami.

    10) Theatrical. There was enough drama there; we didn’t need faux drama on top of that. Barkha Dutt’s coverage of the ground floor of the Taj is a case in point. “Shattered glass!! Shattered glass!!” she hyperventilated in a broken voice. What did she expect to find? A rare orchid?

    The one below was sent by Udit Chaudhuri (http://micropower.blogspot.com)

    1. I will go back to my elocution teacher at school to learn to pause for commas and full stops in my sentences.
    2. I shall not deliberately stammer or repeat two words of a given sentence 4 times to avoid half a second pause.
    3. I shall try and speak correct language while keeping up with “constant sound byte syndrome”—keeping in mind grammar, pronunciations and elegance of the language that I deliver the show in.
    4. I shall not invite 3-4 panellist and repeatedly cut them short, not allow them to finish a sentence, telling each one that the show is running out of time, while hogging all the airtime myself, talking incoherently and deliberately repeating everything 5-8 times lest there is a much needed pause lurking somewhere around the corner or a panellist may just say something sane.
    5. I shall not make national news of a friend’s death or achievements. A fellow journalist’s death will receive as much airtime as a CEO or a foreign tourist’s death. The others wonder if their dear ones life was any less important.
    6. I shall always remember I am a journalist, a generalist—not a scientist, not a marine biologist, not an architect, not a cook, not a defence personal, not a Olympian, not a poor taxi driver, not a hawaldar, not a doctor, not a fire fighter. I will endeavour to learn what it might be to be one of them, by giving them time to speak when I invite them over.
    7. I will watch peers on other channels, abroad and at home to understand that pausing to think is completely acceptable, and far more acceptable is to make sense. Viewers actually like it.
    8. I will keep my drawing room conversations out of the newsroom and not decide on my own who are the 10 people that will have the right to represent a city. Doesn’t matter if they all happen to be my buddies.
    9. I will not put words into others mouth, especially those who find it difficult to articulate on live television.
    10. I shall take a sabbatical and research a subject of interest, say national security to its depth.Unfair? Partly true? What do you think?

  11. Suresh Syamlal Says:

    @ H.R.Bapu Satyanarayana
    So much so for the honesty and integrity.
    Please read this article
    http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2010/05/31/stories/2010053150300900.htm

    http://www.deeshaa.org/2010/05/02/manmohan-singh-is-a-despicably-dishonest-man/

    http://www.deeshaa.org/2010/06/02/manmohan-singh-is-really-and-truly-a-despicably-dishonest-man/

  12. Amrit Sagar Says:

    we are all talking so many things as per our state of mind or as per our knowledge. Since 23rd May 1964 my thinking was very abnormal, on 23rd May 1964 i was disguised with Two G’s, one is God and the other one is Government, as i saw poor labour sleeping at foot path. In the same week Pt.Nehru expired, though he had said on 22nd may 1964 ” i will not die so early” in a press conference at Delhi. Lal Bahaddhur Shastri became Prime Minister after few days acting PM of G L Nanda.
    Later in 1983, i took astrology and found fate is predestined and no one can change or alter it even the creator Lord Brahma and it proved through many of my own experiments in astrology. I have also predicted Manmohan Singh’s 2nd term 8 months before on 5th September 2008 , where in i said “Dr.Singh will become PM for the 2nd term with 273 MP’s support on 16th May 2009. On 16th May 15th Lok Sabha polls counting begun with conclusion that Mr.Singh will become PM for 2nd term and on 22nd May 2009 he took oath as PM with 274 MP ‘s supports.
    Yes, everything is predestined and no one can change or alter it , even the creator lord Brahma is my experiment proved astrologically.
    I am still unable to understand why planets or God doing so, what is the mistakes in India / Indian patriots suffer more for food shelter and clothing even though hard workers, knowledgeable , intelligent’s are here or going abroad .
    40 years back i made one slogan ” we are two, we should have one child” to decrease population/control of population. Recently I read RVM’s Succsex, where in he said ”Sex power should be transmuted”. it should not be wasted. ”
    But, when everything is predestined what can we do ? is my biggest question. As i also experienced accuracy of Mundane matters astrologically. from my little knowledge in the same. Preaching or teaching, law , rules and regulations , Government and constitution, bills and amendments, job or business, literate or illiterate, Whoever may be need food shelter and clothing , the essential. But we are running with luxury life and style. Every one want to be TaTA or Birla or Reliance or Mittal.
    Around 1964 i saw “Mad Mad World” where in all fought for money. People worship “Lakshmi” only, they do not want to worship “Sharade” .
    Manmohan Singh doing as Lord Brahma has written in his forehead to do so. There is no fault of him, i feel astrologically.
    “yathaa raaja, tathaa prajaa; like wise; ‘yathaa graha , tathaa phal’.
    janani janma saukyaanaam , vardhani kula sampadaam|
    padavi poorva punyanaama, likyate, janma patrika’.

    Dr.Singh’s chart had Saturn in the 2nd aspect by the Moon, hence he will not speak more, as it indicates “Mauni”. Mahatma Gandhi talked as his 2nd house placed by Saturn aspect by Jupiter.

    Amrit Sagar

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