Washington Post article on Manmohan: PMO sends strong reply

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has lodged a formal protest with Washington Post newspaper for an article critical of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, terming it as "unethical and unprofessional" conduct of the journalist.

The PMO, in its reaction posted on the US-based newspaper's website, has said the story was "totally one-sided" as the journalist "never" got in touch with the PMO for its version.

"We do not complain about criticism of the government which is a journalist's right. But I am writing this letter for pointing out unethical and unprofessional conduct at your part," said a letter by Pankaj Pachauri, Communications Adviser to the Prime Minister's Office.

In the letter, Pachauri has complained that the journalist "despite all lines of conversations open", never "got in touch with us for our side of the story though you regularly talk to me about information from the PMO. This story thus becomes totally one sided."

Pachauri refers to the journalist Simon Denyer's mention that his request for an interview was declined and says that his mail had clearly stated that interview was declined 'till the Monsoon Session' of Parliament which gets over tomorrow.

With regard to quotes attributed to former Media Adviser to the PM Sanjaya Baru, Pachauri has stated that he has complained that Denyer 'rehashed and used' an eight-month-old quote from an Indian magazine.

"We expected better from the correspondent of the Washington Post for fair and unbiased reporting," the letter states.

In an article on Wednesday, Washington Post had described Manmohan Singh as a silent PM.

The Post article said, "the shy, soft-spoken 79-year-old is in danger of going down in history as a failure".

"But the image of the scrupulously honorable, humble and intellectual technocrat has slowly given way to a completely different one: a dithering, ineffectual bureaucrat presiding over a deeply corrupt government," the article said.

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