Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot addresses a press conference, in Jaipur, Monday, May 13, 2019. (PTI Photo)
The Press Council of India has issued a notice to the Rajasthan government over Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s remark at a press conference in December, terming it “disconcerting.”
During a press conference to mark one year of the Congress government on December 16, 2019, Gehlot “is alleged to have said that “vigyapan chahte ho toh khabar dikhao (show [government] reports if you want advertisements)”, the PCI said in a statement.
The PCI said that such a statement is “contrary to the values of democracy and affects the reliability and freedom of the media”. The Council said that it “expresses its concern over the alleged statement made at a public platform which undermines the freedom of the press.”
As per the notice, issued by PCI Secretary Anupama Bhatnagar, the PCI has taken suo motu cognizance of Gehlot’s statement which is extended by regulation number 13 of The Press Council (Procedure for Inquiry) Regulations, 1979.
The notice, issued to the Chief Secretary on January 13, has sought the state government’s reply within two weeks.
Chief Secretary D B Gupta did not respond to attempts by The Indian Express for comment.
BJP state president Satish Poonia said Gehlot should stop threatening the media. “He is the first CM of the state who has been asked for clarification over his statement by the PCI. Hence it seems that press freedom is under threat. The statement by Gehlot, who calls himself as belonging to the Gandhian ideology, is disappointing.”
An official said, “If you listen to the clip, there was a context... He simply meant that the media should publicise public welfare schemes. There was no threat...”