In a climb-down, government news agency PTI acknowledges that it had inaccurately represented the Caravan Executive Editor Vinod K Jose’s presentation in London at the Global Conference for Media Freedom.
In the panel titled 'Religion and the Media; Telling the Untold Story,' Jose had made a presentation on the increased instances of mob lynchings and targeted violence in India.
A PTI correspondent from London had filed that Jose only blamed the RSS for the 1984 riots. However, rectifying the earlier error, PTI stated that the report which stated that Jose blamed only the RSS for the 1984 Sikh riots was an inaccurate representation as he had also named the Congress for the violence. It was in the story titled, "Prasar Bharati chief slams Indian magazine editor for blatant' anti-India presentation at global meet.
In his presentation, he traces the tensions between majority and minority religious groups in India, where he spoke of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots during what he described as the "height of the Congress Party rule".
"Over 2,700 Sikhs were killed. Workers of the Congress Party and also members of the RSS, the Hindu right-wing group, had played a role in the killings What we arrive at from various studies is that these attacks are not spontaneous. There is a systematic plan to it. They are not organic but orchestrated, he said.
Jose's presentation highlighted the declining global rank of India on important parameters such as press freedom.
However, his presentation had attracted a rebuttal from Prasar Bharati chairman, A Surya Prakash, sitting back in the audience urging the gathering not to believe all aspects of Jose's presentation. "All of us take strong exception to this presentation on India," he said.
Prakash also accused Jose of portraying India in a bad light. A previous PTI story reported Prakash's attack on Jose, and quoted the Prasar Bharati chairman describing Jose's presentation as "anti-India."
Clarifying, the PTI story goes on to mention that the same panel comprised of media representatives from the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Media Diversity Institute and World Watch Monitor and was chaired by Lord Tariq Ahmad, UK Minister for Commonwealth and the Prime Minister's Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief.
The Conference also announced the creation of a new Global Media Defence Fund. The UK government committed 18 million pounds to improve media freedom across the world. The new Global Media Defence Fund will be administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).