When the Chinese premier Wen Jiabao visited India in December 2010, he was critical of the Indian media, saying it repeatedly sensationalised the border situation, causing damage to bilateral ties. He even lectured a group of editors to play a more active role in enhancing friendship between the two countries.
However, when the Chinese president Hu Jintao faced aggressive questioning at a joint press conference with his US counterpart Barack Obama in Washington D.C. last week, he couldn’t muster the courage to castigate the American media. He was defensive, evasive , even conciliatory.
Why did Wen not bother with the diplomatic niceties that his president employed?
The veteran columnist Sunanda K. Datta-Ray in The Telegraph, Calcutta:
“One reason is that no Indian publication is any longer taken seriously as an interlocutor like the Post and Journal in the US…..
“National papers of record have become vehicles of private interest. Some are trivial, some project a borrowed ideology, others are obsessed with what are called ‘Page Three people’….
“Wen is dismissive about media freedom and contemptuous about its “sensationalizing” because he knows his diplomats can buy favourable coverage by extending hospitality to leading commentators and doling out what passes for exclusive titbits of information.”
Read the full article: A study in contrasts