Defending Kejriwal, AAP claims 3 news channels are 'paid media'

A day after a video of AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal allegedly saying that media outlets were accepting money for favourable coverage of the  BJP, his party attempted to defend him and said that it would file a complaint against three news channels for an alleged bias towards the BJP.

Party leader Sanjay Singh said they will petition the election commission against three channels, India TV, India News and Zee TV, for their  biased coverage in favour of Modi.

He also said that Times Now also carried news that was biased against the AAP.

Kejriwal had accused the media of being biased. PTI

Kejriwal had accused the media of being biased. PTI

Singh also demanded a probe into the sting operation that had allegedly found evidence that opinion polls on channels were rigged.

"There should be a probe into the matter and action should be taken accordingly," party spokesperson Ashutosh said.

Former journalist Ashish Khetan who is also contesting on the party's ticket said that the media had been targeting Kejriwal unfairly while letting off the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi.

"There are so many issues but the media is behind only Arvind Kejriwal. Not even one question is being asked about Modi's rallies," Khetan said.

Nothing is being asked about the Gujarat development model and no questions regarding public policy are asked of Modi, the former journalist said.

He said that Modi was asked no questions related to public interest while they were constantly being asked of Kejriwal.

News channels take payment through cheques and it should be revealed how much money has been paid by each of the candidates such as Rahul Gandhi, Modi and others, Khetan said.

"Do news channels have a policy under which they state how much money has been received from each of the candiates?" Khetan said.

The party also attempted to play down the comments made by Kejriwal at a rally in Nagpur.

"Kejriwal has only said that some news channels are carrying the agenda of some political parties and it should be probed and action should be taken," Ashutosh said.

However, there are many editors with high integrity who are working in the media and will face hard times in coming days, he said.

The former editor said that promoters have been putting pressure on editors of media outlets and it will only get worse in the run up to the elections.

Following the press conference, the Broadcast Editors Association issued a statement condemning the statement by Kejriwal and AAP.

"It is wrong to say that TV channels are pursuing a biased agenda in favour of any person or party," the association said.

The association said that news channels were operating in a free and fair manner and said it had strong faith in the self regulatory mechanisms that it had in place.

"Vague and sweeping allegations is a sign of weakness," the association said.

Updated Date: Mar 14, 2014 15:54 PM

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