Citizens' Issues
When the PMO fails to defend its master over Washington Post story

Was there any need for the PMO to defend criticism by the Washington Post article? However, its communications advisor tried and in the end, all the PMO managed was to get a 'sorry' from the author and that too not for the article but for a technical issue of his website

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has lodged a formal protest with Washington Post for an article that had criticized prime minister Manmohan Singh, terming it as “unethical and unprofessional” conduct of the journalist, Simon Denyer. Simon is also the India bureau chief of Washington Post.


In a letter, Pankaj Pachauri, former journalist with NDTV and now communications adviser to the PMO, said, “...the story was ‘totally one-sided’ as the journalist ‘never’ got in touch with the PMO for its version.”


Here is the letter written by the PMO and point-by-point reply by Simon Denyer, the author of the article. Both the letters are also available on Washington Post’s blog.


PMO: Despite all lines of conversations open, you never got in touch with us for our side of the story though you regularly talk to me about information from the PMO. This story thus becomes totally one sided.

Simon: I requested an interview with the PM on three occasions, and also with TKA Nair, Advisor to the Prime Minister, and with Pulok Chatterji, Principal Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office. Those requests were either ignored or declined.


PMO: You have been telling the media here in India that your request for an interview was declined though the mail below says clearly that the interview was declined “till the Monsoon Session” of the Parliament which gets over in two days.

Simon: When I made my final request for an interview with the PM in July, I was told on July 30 “The PM has declined all interview requests till the Monsoon session is over.” At that stage the current session of parliament (known as the Monsoon session) of parliament had not even begun. There was no mention of the possibility of an interview afterwards. In any case my story touches on the fact that parliament has been adjourned every day throughout the current session by opposition calls for the PM to resign, which is a story I felt should be told, interview or not.

Indeed, we remain extremely interested in speaking to the prime minister.


PMO: When I rang you up to point this out, you said sorry twice though you tell the media here that you never apologised. Your website where we could have posted a reply is still not working, 11 hours after you said sorry the third time for its inaccessibility.

Simon: 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. I stand by the story.


PMO: The former media adviser to the PM Dr Sanjaya Baru has complained that you “rehashed and used” an eight month old quote from an Indian magazine.

Simon: I spoke to Dr Baru personally on the telephone during the reporting for the story. He confirmed that these sentiments were accurate.



Shadi Katyal

4 years ago

Why are we so thin skin that any truth and criticism written in any domestic or foreign p-aper should offend us.Truth is a
hard pill to digest.
For some peculir reason we get offended at drop of pin.Has enslavedment for centuries left us with some insecureity and genetically so sensative?????.
One thing we fail to eigther understand or able to tell the world that UPA dependes on many poplus parties and so there is no cdenral policy for anything.Why UPA is in power is another question and why failure to control all those scams.
Today world hs shrunk and evryone knows what is going round.
We should thank the forign media that such criticism tells us being watched by the world

Gold zooms above Rs32,000 level on strong demand from stockists

Gold prices for 99.9 and 99.5% purity spurted by Rs320 each to Rs32,300 and Rs32,100 per 10 grams on increased buying by stockists ahead of the marriage season 

New Delhi: Gold prices on Thursday crossed the coveted Rs32,000-mark for the first time in the national capital, driven by increased buying by stockists ahead of the marriage season amid a firming global trend, reports PTI.
The precious metal gained Rs320 to Rs32,300 per 10 grams. It has gained by Rs1,555 per 10 grams in the last two weeks.
Bullion merchants said the trading sentiment also bolstered as gold climbed in international markets on speculation the European Central Bank (ECB) will announce unlimited purchases of government bonds to defuse the euro-zone debt crisis, increasing demand for bullion as an alternate investment.
Gold is likely to scale new heights in the coming days for the marriage season, they added.
"Gold is on upward march and likely to touch new peaks in the coming days for festivals...," All India Sarafa Association General Secretary Surender Jain said, adding that a firming global trend and weak rupee will make imports of the metal costlier.
India is mainly dependent on imports for the precious metal, thus the global bullion trend sets the price trend in the country.
In London, gold rose by 0.96% to $1,709.70 an ounce and silver by 1.8% to $32.85 an ounce, the highest level since 4th April this year.
Following the general firming trend, silver gained Rs1,100 to Rs61,100 per kg on rising demand among industrial units and coin-makers.
On the domestic front, gold of 99.9 and 99.5% purity spurted by Rs320 each to Rs32,300 and Rs32,100 per 10 grams, respectively. Sovereigns followed suit and shot up by Rs200 to Rs25,250 per piece of eight grams.
Silver ready spurted by Rs1,100 to Rs61,100 per kg and weekly-based delivery by Rs1395 to Rs63,345 per kg. Silver coins shot up by Rs1,000 to Rs77,000 for buying and Rs78,000 for selling of 100 pieces.


AEGON Religare launches new term insurance plan

The insurance plan from AEGOn Religare also provides life cover up to age of 75 years besides giving an option to add three riders like critical illness, woman care, total and permanent disability rider besides tax benefits

Mumbai: Private insurer AEGON Religare Life Insurance (ARLI) on Thursday launched a term insurance plan that provides two death benefit options and an in-built accidental death cover, reports PTI.
"With growing uncertainty and diminishing social support systems, term insurance is the most cost effective way to secure the financial future for the family. The AEGON Religare Term Insurance Plan is one more step in offering a comprehensive suite of protection products," ARLI Chief Marketing Officer Yateesh Srivastava said in a release.
The minimum age of entry to avail the plan is 20 years and the maximum is 65 years. While the maximum age at maturity is 75 years and the minimum sum assured is Rs10 lakh.
The term options under the plan ranges from 10 years to 40 years, or cover up to 75 years of age.
The plan also provides life cover up to age of 75 years besides giving an option to add three riders like critical illness, woman care, total and permanent disability rider besides tax benefits.
ARLI is a joint venture between AEGON, an international life insurance, pension and investment company, Religare, a global financial services group and Bennett, Coleman & Company.


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