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.”
Sabrina Siddiqui is a journalist with WSJ who has been constantly attacked by the right wing ecosystem, BJP members & its fake news factory – since she asked Prime Minister Modi a question at the White House Press meet.— Supriya Shrinate (@SupriyaShrinate) June 27, 2023
Ironical her question also included undermining of the… pic.twitter.com/Y9fug8fN4D
Admiral John Kirby terms Sabrina Siddiqui's harassment 'unacceptable'. This comes after Wall Street Journal reporter Siddiqui was trolled online for questioning PM Modi about the alleged discrimination against the Muslim minority in India.#ModiInUS #johnkirby #sabrinasiddiqui pic.twitter.com/rWMDU0oUoi— Mojo Story (@themojostory) June 27, 2023
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 White House is condemning the harassment of Wall Street Journal reporter Sabrina Siddiqui, who questioned India’s prime minister about human rights in his country at a press conference last week https://t.co/kyaQUVW658— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) June 26, 2023
The South Asian Journalists Association also stepped forward to defend WSJ Reporter Sabrina Siddiqui.
We want to express our continued support of our colleague @SabrinaSiddiqui who, like many South Asian and female journalists, is experiencing harassment for simply doing her job. Press freedom is the hallmark of any democracy and PM Modi leads the world's largest democracy. https://t.co/rbvKpk7vUo— SAJA (@sajahq) June 24, 2023