Rahul Gandhi alleged that there was a "definite capture of institutions and press" back home. (File)
Weighing in on issues concerning national politics during an interaction with journalists at the National Press Club in Washington DC on Thursday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi claimed that press freedom was under threat back home in India and the world could see the same.
Opening up on the issue during a free-wheeling conversation with scribes in the US capital, Mr Gandhi said press freedom is very critical for a functional democracy and one should be open to criticism. He alleged that there was a clampdown on the institutional framework, which enabled the national discourse.
"There is definitely a weakening of press freedom in India. It is apparent in India and the rest of the world can see it too. Press freedom is very critical for a democracy. One should be open to criticism. There is a clampdown on the institutional framework that allowed India to talk and Indian people to negotiate. I view India as a negotiation between its people, between different cultures, languages and histories. Mahatma Gandhi set up the framework to enable that negotiation fairly and freely. That structure, which allows this negotiation, is coming under pressure," he said.
He alleged further that was a "definite capture of institutions and press" back home.
"I don't believe everything I hear. I walked across India and spoke to millions of Indians, they didn't seem very happy to me. They agreed that there were serious issues such as inflation," Rahul Gandhi said.
Addressing the Indian community in California on Tuesday, Rahul Gandhi took a jibe at PM Modi, saying that some people in India have the "disease" of being under the impression that they know everything.
The remarks triggered a backlash from the BJP, which accused the Congress leader of tarnishing India's image on foreign soil.
Over the course of his ongoing visit to the US, the Congress leader will visit San Francisco, Washington DC and New York.