Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge today said that the Modi government was “pressurising and intimidating” the media and cited the instance of two senior employees of a news television channel who were told to quit after doing a reality check programme on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claims.
Afterwards, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore rebutted the allegations and said the first news aired by the channel was wrong but no show-cause notice was issued and it was the opposition’s habit to blame the government for everything.
“There is right to speak, right to write. Article 19 gives the right to freedom of expression. But it is very regrettable that there have been several instances of ban on the media. Specially, when the media has gone against the government or has done a reality check, there is an attempt to intimidate them, muzzle them,” Kharge told the Lok Sabha during Zero Hour.
“I will give you one example. Two days back, two senior functionaries of ABP News channel were asked to resign. Milind Khandekar, who was Managing Editor and who had been working with the channel for 14 years, and (an anchor), they were also working. The only mistake was that the anchor sent the reporter to do a reality check of what Modi had said in his Mann ki Baat” radio programme, Kharge said. Another anchor was asked to go on leave.