NEW YORK CITY (TIP): Shobhana Bhartia, Chairperson & Editorial Director of Hindustan Times Group said that India matters a lot to the US now and media played a vital ‘constructive’ role for that as it helped ‘thaw’ the not so good relations between the two democracies. She was addressing the audience at the Indian Consulate, New York as a guest speaker at the Media India Lecture on September 17. She spoke on “The Role of Media in Promoting India – US relations”.
Consul General Dnyaneshwar Mulay opened the discussion by saying that this topic is unique because the role of media in building the relationships has never been highlighted.
As an authority on the subject, Bhartia, who became the first woman chief executive of a national newspaper, touched upon a range of subjects starting from Bill Clinton’s India visit to the signing of the civil nuclear deal.
Shobhana said that India was not getting proper respect from America during early nineties as ‘the good work done by India was not getting translated’ and the relationship was not so strong but the scenario changed after US president Bill Clinton’s India visit. “It was the turning point. We moved forward from there. And media played a very important role there as a thawing agent.”
She added that after the thaw happened, the biggest turning point in India – US relations was signing of the nuclear deal and media’s proactive role was a major player there too. The former member of Rajya Sabha admitted that there was a major discord within the ruling party regarding the deal but it was the Indian media that actually ‘collectively created the right context which allowed the ruling party to take the right decision.’ Bhartia admitted that it was not easy for a coalition government to convince its partners but as media created the right atmosphere by highlighting the positive aspects of the deal that eased the situation for the government to go ahead. “And we did not look back since then”, she added.