The White House has condemned the reported online harassment directed towards a US journalist Sabrina Siddiqui following her question to Prime Minister Modi on minority rights at his joint press conference with US President Joe Biden in Washington DC on June 22.
During the conference, the Wall Street Journal reporter had asked the Indian PM, “What steps are you and your government willing to take to improve the rights of Muslims and other minorities in your country and to uphold free speech?”
John Kirby, coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council in the White House, while responding to a question from the WSJ on its reporter allegedly facing backlash online, said the White House was “aware of the reports of the harassment”.
“It’s unacceptable. And we condemn any harassment of journalists anywhere under any circumstances. That’s just completely unacceptable. And it’s antithetical to the very principles of democracy that were on display last week during the state visit,” he said on the matter.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reiterated the Biden administration's commitment to freedom of the press and denounced any attempts to intimidate or harass journalists for simply carrying out their professional duties. “The President will never shy away from having those conversations with a world leader, a head of state when it comes to human rights. He has done that throughout the past two years and through his career as a vice president and certainly as a senator,” she said in a press briefing. “We certainly condemn any efforts of intimidation or harassment of a journalist or any journalist that is just trying to do their job,” she added.