An uninformed Indian Press

Bhutan is no stranger to having literal fake news floating about it over the years and it must be said that the majority of them are from Indian media outlets either just across the border or in New Delhi.

The latest one and perhaps the most damaging one till date is the complete misinterpretation and misrepresentation of the Prime Minister’s standard comments to a Belgian newspaper on the Bhutan-China boundary talks.

The Prime Minister did not say anything new, and if there was anything new at all then it was an acknowledgement of India’s unofficial role in the talks. The Indian media should have been appreciating it, but they went on the attack instead, accusing the Prime Minister of changing Bhutan’s position in the talks in favour of China.

If only these outlets checked with their many ‘sources’ in the government they would have realized how India is kept in the loop.

The Indian media firstly failed the basic journalistic ethics of getting both sides of the story and doing a basic fact check. If they really were that concerned, then they could have got in touch with the PMO in Bhutan to seek a clarification. Nobody bothered.

Secondly, the arrogant and hectoring tone of the Indian media was not appreciated by many Bhutanese. The tone and tenor shows that the India media suffers from a colonial hangover aping the arrogance of the British colonists. In fact, their view of the entire neighbourhood is jaundiced by this colonial attitude of knowing better than the natives.

Third and the worst is that even after being pointed out that they are wrong they refused to apologize or even quietly correct their mistakes. Some became even more defensive.

It is a sad state of affairs for the Indian media that their coverage of the neighbourhood is driven by ignorance, assumptions, fear and paranoia.

When fake news is repeated, it becomes difficult for the public to discern what’s real.
Jimmy Gomez

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