Is Arvind Kejriwal Afraid of Media? Delhi Govt. To Monitor All News Channels Between 9AM to 11PM
For the first time ever, Delhi Government will monitor all TV news channels broadcasted at India’s national capital, and submit its report to Arvind Kejriwal. Media veterans have termed this as a direct assault on the freedom of media and information in the country.
As per internal reports from the Delhi Govt., CM Arvind Kejriwal has directed Directorate of Information and Publicity (DIP), Delhi to scan all news channels which broadcast news about him or AAP between 9AM to 11PM, and submit a daily report.
A senior official from Delhi Govt. said, “DIP officials have been asked to start monitoring the content of news channels related to the government and send a daily report on these contents broadcast by them to Chief Minister’s Office (CMO)”
To start with, DIP officials from Delhi Govt. will observe all news channels, and subsequently, an open tender will be floated to hire specialized agency for this monitoring task.
Arvind Kejriwal Is Threatened by Media?
In an interview few days back, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal had openly admitted his fear as he speculated that media in the country is part of a giant “conspiracy to finish off AAP”.
Not even that, he also alleged that “A very large section of the media has accepted ‘supari’ for finishing off AAP…” (supari is a Bollywood/Mumbai slang for contract killing)
It is really hard to believe that these statements are coming from the Chief Minister of India’s Capital, who won elections after defeating India’s oldest political party with huge mandate. If media had been biased against him, then there is no reason he could have even won a single seat in the elections.
If we believe Arvind Kejriwal, then a large section of media have been hired by his opponents to ‘defame Aam Aadmi Party’; and hence this decision of monitoring all news channels will protect him and his party from further defamation.
Another faction of media is accusing AAP of inappropriately using Govt. machinery to monitor TV news channels, an exercise which will directly or indirectly benefit his political party. Such blatant use of Govt. resources and money for one’s own political party is certainly unjustified and non-relevant, considering the paucity of funds for essential services which Delhi Govt. is currently facing.
Press Freedom In India
Indian Constitution, although doesn’t mention the word ‘press’ in this preamble, has clearly stated that the ‘right to freedom and expression’ has to be ensured for each and every citizen of India. This right can be violated only in extreme cases such as threat to the ‘sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, preserving decency, preserving morality, in relation to contempt, court, defamation, or incitement to an offense”. Laws such as POTA (Prevention of Terrorist Activities) and Official’s Secret Act are in place to stop such anti-national activities.
But again, these rules to protect media and press have been willfully altered and used against citizens by political outfits in the past.
During the first half century of our Independence, Press Freedom in India was a mockery of rules and regulations. During the infamous Emergency era in the 1970s, Indira Gandhi had famously said about All India Radio: .. (its) a Government organ, it is going to remain a Government organ…”
We hope that similar situation is not imposed on us in the 21st century to crush freedom of speech and expression. We vehemently oppose AAP’s diktat on media monitoring in Delhi, and request Delhi Govt. to withdraw these directives.