Indian Media and Foreign Policy

 

There are a lot of aspects that have been covered in various papers and articles on India’s dynamics with the Middle East and the general west Asian region. However, one talk given by Kesava Menon of The Hindu on India and Iran in Bengaluru (not sure if he is still with the publication) was particularly interesting. Here are some snippets from his lecture:

> There are four main inter-linked issues that need to be examines: Iran’s strategic orientation, how the US is trying to manage global affairs, how India is coping with the US, India’s position on the Iran issue and India’s overall strategic orientation.

> All the technical questions concerned were sorted out to the satisfaction of the IAEA after many rounds of discussions since 2003. In this period, Western media released scare stories to depict Iran as pursuing a secret nuclear weapons programme.

Of course the dynamics of the Indo – Iranian relations have shifted under the new Rouhani government. Tehran under the new leadership is already pushing India in areas where Ahmadinejad’s regime gave much more leverage to New Delhi. However, Menon also mentions the lacklustre media coverage as a possible source of ill-informed opinions and discussions on India and Iran. This point, I believe, could be relevant with further Indian foreign relations with states such as China, US and so on.

Just a quick quote from Menon:

“Media coverage of inadequate depth may be responsible for the biased and superficial discussions of these issues”.

Media’s role of projecting Indian foreign policy is not very well documented and Menon’s lecture is just one of the two or three sources I have found where this topic has come up. Perhaps further studies on this topic should be done in India, considering the fact that foreign policy coverage is not really on any media organisation’s priority list unless Pakistan is involved.

It is why I still find bizarre that no Indian media organisation sent journalists to cover the Syrian crises.
Any further information (or general feedback), resources etc that any other Takshashila scholars may have on this would be much appreciated. I think Menon’s small talk here raises big points on how India’s foreign policy is perceived by the general public.

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