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White House denounces harassment of journalist who questioned Modi on human rights

Wall Street Journal reporter Siddiqui was trolled online for questioning PM Modi about the alleged discrimination against the Muslim minority in India.

The White House denounced the harassment of a journalist who questioned Indian Prime Minister Modi on human rights!

A Wall Street Journal reporter Sabrina Siddiqui, during a press conference with President Joe Biden and Modi at the White House on Thursday, had asked PM Modi about what the government had done to improve the rights of Muslims and other minorities in India.

“It’s completely unacceptable and it’s antithetical to the very principles of democracy that … were on display last week during the state visit,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre later added that “we’re committed to the freedom of the press” and “condemn any efforts of intimidation or harassment of a journalist.”


During a press conference, Siddiqui said “There are many human rights groups who say your government has discriminated against religious minorities and sought to silence its critics,” and asked PM Modi, “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.”

Indian Prime Minister Modi at the time said that he was “surprised” by the question.

“In India’s democratic values, there is absolutely no discrimination, neither on the basis of caste, creed, or age or any kind of geographic location,” Modi said through a translator in response to Siddiqui’s question.

“Indeed, India is a democracy. And as President Biden also mentioned, in India and America both countries, democracy is in our DNA. Democracy is our spirit. Democracy runs in our veins. We live in democracy,” Modi added.

Following the presser at the White House, Siddiqui has been the target of online abuse, mainly from prime minister Modi’s allies in India.

Sabrina asked a pertinent question, that’s what journalists do.

Targeting journalists for their personal backgrounds is an old and desperate trope of the BJP, and instead of focusing on PM Modi’s answer, which he gave willingly, it is no strange that trolls focused on who asked the question.

The Wall Street Journal also responded to the attacks in a statement Monday calling Sabrina 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 stepped forward to defend WSJ Reporter Sabrina Siddiqui.


Saman Siddiqui

Saman Siddiqui, A freelance journalist with a Master’s Degree in Mass Communication and MS in Peace and Conflict Studies. Associated with the media industry since 2006. Experience in various capacities including Program Host, Researcher, News Producer, Documentary Making, Voice Over, Content Writing Copy Editing, and Blogging, and currently associated with OyeYeah since 2018, working as an Editor.

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