Dreadful Swedish interview of President causes upset in India

I have posted earlier about the dreadful interview conducted by the Editor-in Chief of Dagens Nyheter, Peter Wolodarski, with President Pranab Mukherjee in advance of the latter’s State visit to Sweden at the end of this week. It was not quite incompetent but it was pretty bad in that the interviewer’s own preconceptions, misconceptions and “political correctness” were all on display. Of course Pranab Mukherjee was quite inept as well and kept referring to the Swiss instead of to the Swedish. But the President did manage to resist all the words that Wolodarski tried to put into his mouth regarding the Bofors affair. And Wolodarski’s condescension to a Head of State is both embarrassing and contemptible.

The interview seems to have caused some upset in India and there is now a threat in the air to cancel/postpone the first ever State visit of an Indian Head of State to Sweden. The main stream media in Sweden – in spite of their quite pathetic and slavish following of political correctness – are usually quite competent but their ethical standards are not of the highest. Wolodarski’s interview was particularly cringe-worthy.

The Indian Ambassador writes to Wolodarski and accuses him of being unprofessional, unethical, condescending, misleading, patronising and flippant. Maybe Wolodarski did not lie, but if the Ambassador is correct, he was certainly shading the truth when he told the Ambassador that his readers were not interested in Bofors which then became his lead-in to his sensationalised story.

But my real quarrel with Wolodarski is that he was thoroughly unprofessional.

Indian Embassy letter

Of course the fault also lies with the Ambassador or whoever else organised the interview. They should have known better than to trust or rely on any journalist – especially since Swedish journalists have no concept of anything being “off the record”.

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