WSJ Reporter Harassed over Modi questions
Wall Street Journal reporter Sabrina Siddiqui became the target of online abuse after posing a question to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a press conference during his recent state visit.
Noting that human rights groups had accused Modi’s government of discriminating against religious minorities and silencing its critics, Siddiqui asked: “What steps are you and your government willing to take to improve the rights of Muslims and other minorities in your country and uphold free speech?”
Speaking through a translator, Modi expressed surprise at the question and said, “In India’s democratic values, there is absolutely no discrimination, neither on basis of caste, creed, or age or any kind of geographic location.”
Siddiqui soon found herself in the crosshairs of Modi supporters online, as reported by NBC News and other outlets. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby acknowledged the online abuse at a press conference.
“It’s completely unacceptable and it’s antithetical to the very principles of democracy that . . . were on display last week during the state visit,” Kirby said.
The Wall Street Journal released a statement calling Siddiqui “a respected journalist known for her integrity and unbiased reporting. This harassment of our reporter is unacceptable, and we strongly condemn it.” The South Asian Journalists Association also expressed support for Siddiqui, tweeting that she, “like many South Asian and female journalists, is experiencing harassment for simply doing her job.”
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Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI, author of the novel Bala Takes the Plunge.
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