Indian media stroking racist row: Oz envoy

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John McCarthy -Australian Envoy To India
Melbourne, Jun 14: Accusing the India media for creating fear among Indian students in both the nations, Oz envoy John McCarthy said that Australia's image in India has been damaged. "India's voracious 24-hour cable news channels helped stoke the wave of fear and outrage among Indians in both countries," said McCarthy.

"It's done damage. You can't have three weeks of that sort of television without the perception of Australia among Indians being damaged. The question is how much?" McCarthy was quoted as saying by a newspaper, The Australian. He added that the bilateral relationship with India would continue, but the new negative perception of Australia would linger.

"Two or three stories go on and on, and very violent and disturbing pictures are shown over and over again. What happens then is immediately people with relatives in Australia get on the phone. This seems to cause far more debate about the situation. Then you get the next stage, which is probably a demonstration, which looks much worse, and it fuels on itself," he said.

McCarthy said that since the Indian media reported that many victims lived in outer suburbs and took public transport late at night, they made them more vulnerable to crime. He also added that not all Indian students are attacked and only the voices of student unions which did not always reflected the total student membership or Indian community are heard.

McCarthy said Australia had almost 95,000 Indians students and "they haven't all been writing letters and emails. A number of them have been saying 'we're fine'. But they weren't the ones getting heard".

"My sense is we will overcome it, but it's going to take time and it's going to need a pretty close look at how we prepare students for Australia. We need to be much more conscious of their safety," he added.

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