Delhi correspondent Krutika Pathi; Dharmsala, India, journalist Ashwini Bhatia; and Kathmandu, Nepal, journalist Binaj Gurubacharya landed key interviews in quick succession to drive the South Asia news agenda.
With the region experiencing a deadly surge of the coronavirus, Gurubacharya’s persistence paid off when Nepal’s newly appointed health minister, Sher Bahadur Tamang, agreed on short notice to an on-camera interview. He revealed that Nepal was in desperate need of vaccines and would allow any vaccine producer to run trials and produce vaccines with all fees waived.
Meanwhile, across the border in India, Bhatia was preparing questions for a Zoom interview with the new president of the Tibetan government-in-exile, Penpa Tsering, in the northern city of Dharmsala, where the Dalai Lama has been living since he fled Tibet after a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule. Tsering said a visit by the Dalai Lama to Tibet could be the best way for resumption of talks with China. His extensive comments came as AP published a series of reports from Tibet following a rare media tour, providing a critical counterpoint to what the Chinese government describes as the social stability and economic development of the region.
And a day later, Pathi managed to get an on-camera interview with Dr. Vinod K. Paul, head of India’s COVID-19 response team. He defended the Indian government’s move to restrict vaccine exports in April, saying India wants to resume exports but can’t do so until its domestic needs are met. Paul also denied that the government was hiding or deliberately undercounting deaths or cases.
The exclusive interviews elevated AP’s news report across formats, providing relevant voices and context, and making headlines with regional and international customers.