The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Friday asked the Indian Embassy in the US to look into the "anti-India behaviour" of Wall Street Journal (WSJ) journalist Eric Bellman and his "immediate deportation", according to the Prasar Bharati News Service. A complaint was filed on the government's Online Grievance Redressal platform by a "private individual" has sought immediate deportation of Bellman, who is the WSJ's South Asia Deputy Bureau Chief. The MEA forwarded the complaint to the Indian Embassy in the US and asked them to look into the matter.
The complaint was registered with the MEA on March 2 after police complaints against the Wall Street Journal for allegedly misreporting Delhi riots, particularly about the killing of IB officer Ankit Sharma. According to sources, no decision has been taken on the complaint so far.
However, the MEA later clarified that it referred the matter to the appropriate department for examination as part of the routine procedure and that nothing else was needed to be read out of this. The External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that the government has not taken any decision on Bellman's deportation.
"A complaint was registered against @EricBellmanWSJ, @WSJIndia by a private individual on Government's Online Grievance Redressal platform. Referring the complaint to related office is a routine matter as per standard procedure. No such decision on deportation has been taken by us," Kumar wrote on Twitter.
Prasar Bharati's gaffe and MEA's clarification
The earlier tweets of Prasar Bharati suggested that the MEA has asked for the immediate deportation of the WSJ journalist and the ministry had to come out with a clarification. The earlier tweet claimed that the MEA had asked the Indian Embassy in the US to "look into the request" for "immediate deportation" of the WSJ journalist for his "anti-India behaviour". However, after MEA's clarification, the tweet was pulled down.
"Clarification from @MEAIndia on earlier tweets by PBNS that had wrongly interpreted a routine procedure related to a private complaint," Prasar Bharati, the parent body of state-owned broadcasters Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR), said in another tweet.
However, this wasn't the first time Prasar Bharati has cooked up a storm by misrepresenting the facts. The public broadcaster has many a time attacked reputed international publications like The New York Times, The Washington Post and Le Monde (France) for publishing reports critical of the Narendra Modi government.