NEW DELHI: Public service broadcaster Prasar Bharati will review its relationship with news agency Press Trust of India (PTI), alleging anti-national reporting by the latter. This follows PTI publishing an interview with Chinese ambassador Sun Weidong, wherein the diplomat blamed India for the ongoing border crisis in Ladakh and the violence in Galwan Valley that resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers.
Headquartered in the national capital, PTI, the largest news agency in India, is is a non-profit cooperative among more than 500 Indian newspapers and has over 1,000 full-time employees. It took over the operations of the Associated Press of India from Reuters after India’s independence in 1947.
A strong letter expressing its displeasure is being sent from Prasar Bharati to the news agency on the matter, ahead of a PTI board meeting, a person aware of the matter said.
This kind of news coverage no longer makes it tenable to continue the relationship the two had shared for decades, as part of which the public broadcaster has been supporting PTI with huge annual fees running into several crores, the person said.
“PTI has been rigid on review of the same since 2016-2017. Now in totality of its conduct, Prasar Bharati is reviewing its relationship with PTI and final decision on the same will be conveyed soon,” he added.
PTI did not respond to Mint’s queries.
In the controversial interview published on 25 June, Weidong had said the onus to resolve the current tensions was not on China and that it was India that resorted to violence to “create a stand-off” between the two armies.
“The incident was completely instigated by the Indian side and the responsibility does not lie with the Chinese side,” he had told PTI.
The ambassador had listed all commander-level meetings and conversations that have taken place between the two countries and added that China was “ready to work with India to properly deal with the border stand-off while noting that ‘suspicion and friction’ was a wrong path that goes against the fundamental aspirations of people of the two countries.”
According to a report by The Print, an abridged version of the interview was posted on Chinese embassy’s official website, which lists only three questions. This has elicited much backlash from senior journalists on social media who have accused PTI of giving China a platform to further its propaganda