On March 9, The Indian Express, a noted English daily, published a report titled – ‘Russia kept India out, US brings Delhi to talks table for Afghan peace plan’. The report by Subhajit Roy, the reporter who covers foreign affairs for the Express, quoted “sources” in typical left-liberal media journalistic style, to support his claims.
To quote the liberal media’s report, “Sources said that Russian interlocutors — amid growing proximity between Moscow and Beijing — suggested that Russia, China, US, Pakistan and Iran should be at the table.”
However, within hours of the report being published, the Russian embassy used its Twitter handle to squarely reject claims made by the report. “The publication in the Indian media claiming that Russia allegedly ‘kept India out’ of the international efforts for the Afghan peace process, which seems to be based on ill-informed sources,” tweeted the Russian embassy.
Apart from destroying the claims made by The Indian Express on Twitter, the Russian embassy also released a detailed statement to nullify the claims made in the report. “Dialogue between Russia and India has always been very close and forward-looking on all global and regional issues, including the situation in Afghanistan. It has been intensively maintained in bilateral and multilateral formats, including the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group, Moscow consultations, etc,” said the Russian Embassy in the statement.
“Due to the complexity of the Afghan settlement, moving towards a relevant regional consensus and coordination with other partners, including the US, is critical. We proceed from the importance of the implementation of the US-Taliban agreement signed in Doha in February 2020 and approved by a UN Security Council resolution,” it added.
Russia has been the target of left-liberal media houses for the last few months, but the Russian embassy is pro-actively exposing them. Previously, ThePrint, the digital media portal which is known for a model of journalism where the reporters quote anonymous “sources,” was slammed by the Russian ambassador to India for spreading fake news on Russia in December 2020. The news portal published a story titled, ‘India-Russia annual summit postponed for 1st time in two decades amid Moscow’s unease with Quad,’ published by its reporter Nayanima Basu.
However, Nikolay Kudashev, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to India, called it “far from reality” in a tweet. He tweeted, “Noted the article “India-Russia annual summit postponed for 1st time in two decades amid Moscow’s unease with Quad” in The Print. Find it to be far from reality. Special and privileged strategic partnership between Russia and India is progressing well despite the #COVID19.”
“Staying in close touch with our Indian friends to work out new dates for the summit, postponed due to epidemiological reasons. We are confident that it will be held in near future, while the Russian-Indian relations will continue its further development,” the Russian ambassador to India added.
The culture of publishing “opinion” stories as “reports” by quoting anonymous sources at The Indian Express as well as ThePrint was developed by influential journalist Shekhar Gupta, who has been chief editor of The Indian Express for more than a decade and now runs ThePrint. When he was Editor-in-Chief of The Indian Express, the organisation excelled in falsely attributing quotes to various people, and creating stories out of thin air with the help of “sources’ and “quotes”.
The organisation became infamous for the coup story, in which it ran a story claiming that the Army’s battalion moved from quarters to take over the leadership of the country when the anti-corruption movement was at its peak.
Moreover, accusing General VK Singh of treason, the report by The Indian Express claimed that two “sizable army units” had moved towards Raisina Hills in January 2012. The story further claimed, “Lookouts confirmed the movement of what looked like a sizable unit. It was soon identified as an entire unit of Mechanised Infantry, with its Russian-made Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFVs), carried on 48 tank transporters. The movement was towards the capital, which was odd.”
In February 2019, General VK Singh ripped apart the then Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta over the 2012 story on the fake coup that was recently debunked by a Sunday Guardian report. The culture of creating stories out of thin air using quotes from “sources” is still prevalent at The Indian Express despite Gupta leaving the organisation in 2014.