A Washington Post article on Indian Prime Minister datelined September 5, 2012 stated that “the shy, soft-spoken 79-year-old is in danger of going down in history as a failure.” The article attracted swift rebuttal from the Prime Minister’s Office.
The Washington Post article by Simon Denyer claims: “Under Singh, economic reforms have stalled, growth has slowed sharply and the rupee has collapsed. But just as damaging to his reputation is the accusation that he looked the other way and remained silent as his cabinet colleagues filled their own pockets.”
The article makes a scathing criticism against the Indian Prime Minister for his aloofness and silence on “the rough and tumble of Indian politics”.
Reacting to the article, the PMO described this article as a “one-sided assessment”. Pankaj Pachauri, communications adviser at the Prime Minister’s office accused the post of “unethical and unprofessional conduct”.
According to the Indian Prime Minister’s side of the story, the paper claims that an interview with the Indian Prime Minister was denied which is a blatant lie. The truth is that it was declined only till the monsoon session of the Parliament, which ends on Friday. According to the PMO letter, the Post reporter apologized twice on phone.
The letter addressed to the Post’s India’s bureau chief and the author of the story Simon Denyer says, “You said sorry twice though you tell the media here that you never apologised.”
Earlier Denyer had tweeted, “no threats were issued from their (PMO) side, no apology offered from mine". However, in a rejoinder, in response to the PMO letter Denyer claims to stand by his version of the story and goes on to add, “My apology was for the fact that the website was down and the PM's office could not post a reply directly. As soon as the problem was fixed, I informed them.”
The Washington Post uses a quote in the story attributed to former media adviser to the Prime Minister Sanjay Baru, which according to the current media adviser of the Prime Minister is ‘rehashed and used’ version of an eight month old quote from an Indian magazine. “We expected better from the correspondent of the Washington Post for fair and unbiased reporting,” according to the rebuttal letter from Indian side.