Free Press Journal

“Clear message to media, get co-opted or get shot”


New Delhi : The Congress on Saturday said the one-day ban slapped on NDTV is not just a message to NDTV but to entire Indian media to “either get co-opted or get shot,” or in other words “play on our terms or we won”t allow you to function.” (Hamare anusaar khelo, nahi to fir hum aapko chalne nahi denge.”

Party spokesman Manish Tewari said the Congress had repeatedly warned the media during the run-up to the elections about the spectre of fascism if the BJP came to power at the Centre as it would squeeze liberal and creating spaces in the country.

“What has happened to NDTV today, if it is not resisted by the Indian Media now, it will unfortunately happen to all of you time and again. Please take this as a caution,” he said.

“You have people in the ruling dispensation who have been past masters at alleged fake encounters and this is unfortunately the Indian Media getting encountered.”

Tewari said the governments in the past had difficulties with the media coverage. “It had difficulties during 26/11, but that did not mean that we should shoot the messenger.”

Ridiculing present minister M Venkaiah Naidu justifying the one-day ban on NDTV India, Tewari said:  “For the I&B Minister to hide behind the recommendations of the Inter Ministerial Committee is nothing short of chicanery. Ministers are supposed to see things in a wider perspective – in the perspective of safeguarding Media freedom, preserving the freedom of speech and expression.”

Meanwhile, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav said that the government’s move to ban a news channel for a day is an “attack on democracy” and a step towards “emergency and dictatorship” in the country. “A popular channel has reported an incident. Banning it for a day is an attack on democracy. Narendra Modi, BJP and RSS are taking the country toward emergency and dictatorship,” Lalu said while addressing Samajwadi Party’s silver juibilee celebrations in Lucknow.

At a news conference in Lucknow, Mayawati accused the Modi government of throttling Freedom of Press.

“If the Central government continues with such activities, it will lead to a second Emergency and those black days will be etched in the minds of people,” Karunanidhi said, adding that the action reminded him of the Emergency days when his articles in party mouthpiece ‘Murasoli’ were banned then.