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Indian envoy slams US media for 'negative' portrayal of India

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Indian Ambassador to the US Navtej Singh Sarna has slammed the American media for their "negative portrayal" of India, alleging that there is a tendency among foreign journalists based in India to pick up the "exception" stories and ignore the development news, reported The New Indian Express (India).

Sarna's remarks came during his address at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a top American think tank.

"Now, it is more a case of pity than worry. India has moved on, you haven't," he said when asked about the portrayal of India in the mainstream American media. Sarna said the American media picks up the "exception" stories, while ignoring the development news.

"There is a tendency to look at the social exception there is a dowry case, there is a caste issue, so pick it up and splash it. But if there is a start-up story for instance (they will say) that happens everywhere. Frankly it bothers me, but I do not loose sleep over it anymore- I used to (worry)," the top Indian diplomat said.

By such a "negative" portrayal of India, Sarna said, the American media was doing "injustice" to its public.

Sarna was participating in a panel discussion during the opening session of the "US & India: From Estranged Democracies to Natural Allies" organised by the top American think-tank.

"These (negative) pieces just sound like oddities. They show the narrow mindset of the journalists, of the editor and marginalise them rather than marginalise us anymore," the Indian Ambassador said.

"If they (the American media) want to survive and remain relevant, they should move on," Sarna said.

Referring to his previous four-year stint at the Indian Embassy here when he was its spokesperson, Sarna said this was what he tried "correcting then, but failed miserably".

"It is extremely important for us, but I think it's important for the United States as well to get a correct picture of, even if I was not in India and I would say of a very important country in the world. Unfortunately, can't tell you, I can guess at the reasons," he said.

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Reporter: Denes Osvalt
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