New Delhi: In an apparent attack on BJP and its prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, Union minister Manish Tewari today said that those who were trying to cause “a storm in a teacup” had conveyed to mediaperons that they would be targeted if they asked uncomfortable questions.
“Those who are trying to bring a storm in a teacup, I do not know whether they would succeed in creating thi storm, but… they have sent out a message to very eminent people in media that if you are a liberal, if you ask uncomfortable questions, then you will be targeted.
“And not only would you be targeted, you would be (also) vilified,” Tewari said, his “storm in a teacup” reference apparently aimed at BJP’s ‘Chai pe Charcha’ campaign.
If the last 10 years were to be juxtaposed with some of the developments taking place today, it would seem that fundamental media freedoms are under challenge, Tewari, the Information and Broadcasting Minister, told reporters on the sidelines of an event to launch the Reference Annual, India 2014.
“If you read the tweets of some very eminent journalists … they clearly point at intimidation, which essentially means that ‘if you are not with us, then you are against us’,” Tewari said without taking any names.
“The way those who ask questions over ‘Chai pe Charcha’, are behaved with, it raises fundamental questions of liberty in debate,” he added.
If leading media personalities state that their freedom of expression is under threat, then it is not hard to imagine as to what may happen with ordinary people, he added.
He said that the UPA government had a broad-based approach which underpins the essence of democracy in the country.
Media adviser to the Prime Minister, Pankaj Pachauri, and I&B secretary Bimal Julka were among those present at the event.
Meanwhile, responding to a query on the allegations of corruption levelled by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal against the central government, Tewari said that instead of fulfilling promises, the Aam Aadmi Party was making baseless accusations.
“The people of Delhi supported them and Congress, too, gave outside support so that they can form the government and fulfil their promises.
“(But) neither have they fulfilled their promises on water and electricity and nor have they made any progress on other issue.
“It is laughable that a person in a responsible position is making fictitious and baseless allegations against others,” Tewari said.