New Delhi: The News Broadcasters Association today objected to “unverified” and “highly defamatory” charges levelled against news channels by AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal and comments by Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde threatening to “crush” the electronic media.
The apex body of news broadcasters appealed to political leaders and public figures not to level baseless charges against the media and keep the discourse “civil and sane”.
On Kejriwal’s comments against a section of the media during a rally in Rohtak on Haryana on Sunday, the apex body of news broadcasters slammed him for making allegations without specific details to substantiate them.
“It is shocking to note that the very parties that gained immensely from media coverage are today turning against the electronic media, when they are under scrutiny on issues of governance,” the NBA Secretary General Annie Joseph said in a statement.
The NBA also took strong note of Shinde’s comments. “NBA is equally shocked by the statement of the Home Minister of India that he would crush the electronic media and that a close watch was being kept on them.”
Shinde had stoked a controversy on Sunday evening by threatening to “crush” the electronic media, alleging a section of it was unnecessarily provoking the Congress by indulging in “false propaganda” against it. He did a U-turn yesterday, claiming he was referring to the social media and not journalists.
“The media provides a service that is essential for any democratic society. This is particularly important when the most fundamental aspect of a democracy, the elections, are round the corner.
“At such a time, the media plays an indispensable role in enabling citizens to stay well informed and make important choices. There can be no acceptable reason for attacking the media on frivolous unsubstantiated grounds. Intimidation and preventing the media from performing its duties amounts to interfering with the freedoms enshrined in and guaranteed by the Constitution,” the NBA said.