Despite Congress Spokesperson Manish Tewari's sharp criticism of the article written by Simon Denyer, the bureau chief of Washington Post, the newspaper said that it is not going to apologize to the PMO and is at best offering to carry the comment the PMO made in their comment section.
During a debate hosted by Rajdeep Sardesai, Denyer claimed that he was not given an interview with the Prime Minister by the PMO despite making a request. However, he did not present a one-sided view in his article. He spoke to several people in the Congress as well as Manmohan Singh's friends and colleagues.
When Manish Tewari was asked whether journalists are not allowed to criticise the government, Tewari claimed that what the PMO had an objection to are two things.
Firstly, that Simon did not wait for the PM's interview and wrote the article despite being told that Manmohan does not speak to anyone while Parliament is in session and secondly that the quotes of Sanjay Baru, PM's media advisor during his first tenure, used by Simon in his article is actually old and was given to Caravan Magazine.
Tewari also said that Baru told him that he had never spoken to the Washington Post journalist.
Simon refuted the claim, saying that he had email exchanges with the person in question to prove otherwise.
Manish Tewari also strongly defended the government when asked about the overreaction that the PMO generally shows whenever a foreign publication writes anything against the prime minister.
"Not true at all, I think you guys (media) go into an overdrive. If there is an article, about the prime minister in some foreign journal. It is you guys who start running it as breaking news," he said.
When Tewari was asked whether the PM is a silent figure, he said, "In the last one year, the prime minister has held seven press conferences and has given 82 speeches and therefore to say that he is a silent Prime Minister is completely erroneous and out of line."
Simon Denyer, the bureau chief of Washington Post added that he stands by the words that he used in his article.
Denyer had written "... the image of the scrupulously honorable, humble and intellectual technocrat has slowly given way to a completely different one: a dithering, ineffectual bureaucrat presiding over a deeply corrupt government," the article said.
"I genuinely think that there is deep disappointment in Manmohan Singh's second term and it was expressed to me by many people and so I am merely reflecting, humbly reflecting the view," he said.
Watch the full debate here