Modi curbed media freedom in Gujarat: Manish Tewari

New Delhi: Hitting back at Narendra Modi who had attacked the government over an advisory issued to TV channels, Union minister Manish Tewari today accused the BJP leader of curbing media freedom in Gujarat.

The Information and Broadcasting minister defended the advisory issued by his ministry, saying that it only meant advice and attacked Modi saying he only made speeches and never answered journalists' questions.

Manish Tewari. PTI

Manish Tewari. PTI

He added that Modi had walked out of an interview when "difficult questions" on Gujarat riots were asked.

"I think it'll be worthwhile for the pretender of the BJP to really introspect and ask himself as to what really is the condition of media freedom in Gujarat.

"How far from intimidation is the media in the state in which he is the Chief Minister. Whether his liberalism only extends to waxing eloquent and shooting from the hip or is it implemented?" Tewari said here.

The NDA government had troubled Tehelka magazine after they did an expose against the Vajpayee government, he said.

The minister defended the advisory issued to channels by his ministry. "We had given an advice to everyone that when the Prime Minister or the President on a national day like 15 August or 26 January, make an address, then it should be taken with sensitivity," he said.

Earlier speaking in Uttar Pradesh's Bahraich district, Modi had questioned the motive behind the issuance of the advisory.

"The advisory was issued this week for what was shown on last 15 August. The Central government was not concerned about the honour of the Prime Minister but that on 27 October when Rajnath Singh and Narendra Modi were addressing in Patna their shehzade was giving a speech in Delhi," he said, in a reference to Rahul Gandhi's Delhi rally.

The Information and Broadcasting minister also took to twitter to target Modi and said a case had been filed against the editor of a leading daily in his state and telecast of live proceedings of Gujarat Assembly was also banned.

"Prosecute... editor for treason- Ahmedabad ban live telecast of Assembly proceedings Gujarat Model of Press Freedom Devil preaching scriptures," he tweeted.

Speaking to media-persons here Tewari said that "some people have got accustomed to, that they are not willing to accept any criticism but will point fingers on others."

In a response to a question on opinion polls, Tewari said that the Election Commission had sought views from political parties regarding opinion polls and pre poll surveys.

"The Congress party articulated its position. It is no one's case that every opinion poll is doctored. But then also it is no one's case that opinion polls or pre poll surveys cannot be doctored by vested interests. And there is enough evidence which is available, which substantiates or can substantiate this claim," he said.

"Therefore we find the verdict of the people, the litmus test of our actions and not any survey conducted by any agency irrespective of the fact that it may be completely sacrosanct or it may be completely representing a totally biased point of view," he said.

Responding to another question related to a statement by commerce minister on a report by Goldman Sachs, Tewari said he was possibly trying to draw a distinction between appreciation of financial risk qua appreciation of political risk.

Tewari said that Sharma may have felt and rightly so that all these rating agencies are not qualified to evaluate political risks.


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Updated Date: Nov 08, 2013 19:43:20 IST

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