Saturday 16 May 2015

Ethical Man v Narendra Modi

Somehow, I never really expected the BBC to be anything other than largely critical of Narendra Modi's "right wing" government in India, so this high-profile BBC website piece didn't come as a great surprise.


Justin Rowlatt has moved on from being the BBC's 'Ethical Man' to being its South Asia correspondent, but his old environmentalist concerns clearly still linger on - at least if this latest BBC website article is anything to go by:
Why India’s government is targeting Greenpeace
...But one year into his term as prime minister and many say Mr Modi is showing some distinctly undemocratic tendencies as he tries to foster a manufacturing boom in India.
At the end of April, India cancelled the registration of nearly 9,000 foreign-funded non-governmental organisations (NGOs), saying they didn't comply with the country's tax codes.
And the Indian government has singled out the environmental pressure group, Greenpeace, for special attention.
...The reason why says a lot, both about Mr Modi's ambitions for India and his attitude to dissent.
When the Indian electorate voted Mr Modi into power with a handsome majority a year ago they were voting for his promise to transform the Indian economy.
Mr Modi is clearly determined to deliver on that promise. Indeed some Indians now fear that he may compromise some of the country's other core values along the way.
The story concerns Greenpeace's campaigning against India's reliance on coal to fuel its economic development. Coal leads to more carbon dioxide emissions and, thus, to climate change. Ergo, India's reliance on coal is 'a bad thing'. Ergo, Greenpeace and Justin are up in arms.

Somebody on Twitter subsequently pointed out that the Indian government has considerable public support for its moves against Greenpeace & Co.:
@EthicalMan This is how Indians really feel abt NGOs and ur precious Greenpeace. U can stop writing rubbish now.
Jithu (@JithuG2) May 16, 2015
According to the polls 55% say the Modi government is "Rightly putting them in their place" and only 13% say that the move is "Unnecessarily hostile". (33% either "don't know" or  "can't say"). 

Poll suggests Modi's confrontational approach to NGOs proving popular.
Justin Rowlatt (@EthicalMan) May 16, 2015
Maybe some of that popular support might have been reflected in his original article? And shouldn't that 'front page' article now have an 'update'?


  1. Blocking the influence of unelected foreign agents who are undemocratic by nature is undemocratic? Green fascism is one of India's core values? Rowlatt may have changed assignments, but he's still telecommuting from Planet Watermelon.

  2. The BBC is pretty deranged about India.

    I follow several BBC channels via FaceBook and out of a population of a billion it seems nothing criminal or nasty locally doesn't get boosted to World News status.

    Trouble for the BBC is, FB is actually interactive, and amongst the loons, sockpuppets and false flags that inhabit the comments is a vast number of educated Indians who know what's being pulled and say so, with actual facts.

    Justin was just over in Nepal and while a journalistic presence can help in these cases, he and his crew from the 'reports' seemed no more than a bunch of warm bodies clogging up relief flights and hotel space that could have been much better used. I for one already had a fair grasp that earthquakes make rubble, which is fast becoming the BBC emotive backdrop du jour.

    At least he's back in India. For a while it looked like he and JonDon were operating a pincer movement from their respective bases to meet somewhere around Singapore. And if the Keymaster ever meets the Gatekeeper it could get messy.


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