Breaking with a previous tradition of a relatively vigorous engagement with Indian media across the spectrum the summit meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Barack Obama was made accessible to “limited designated official media only” for coverage of the critical event in the just-concluded tour.
While Indian media travelling to the U.S. in the Prime Minister’s aircraft, reportedly limited to Doordarshan, All India Radio, Asian News International and photographers of the Press Trust of India, may have been among the “designated” group, most others, including The Hindu, were not given access to cover the joint remarks of the two leaders after their meeting concluded shortly past 1pm on Tuesday afternoon.
Further there the audio of the remarks made by Mr. Obama did not initially appear to have been made available through the Indian outlets, leading to questions on whether the coverage of that specific segment of commentary had been botched.
When former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited the U.S. a year ago, multiple Indian media outlets, including The Hindu, were given the opportunity to cover the summit meeting and remarks, even if questions from media were not taken by the leaders at the time.
Similarly for the first state dinner hosted by Mr. Obama, which was also for Dr. Singh in 2009, multiple Indian media across the board were provided opportunities for direct engagement with top leaders at a joint press conference, the likes of which was not on the cards during the visit of Mr. Modi.