The Press Council of India (PCI) has taken suo-moto cognisance over an allegedly disconcerting statement made by Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot on media.
The PCI has issued a notice to the chief secretary of the state seeking a reply in two weeks. Gehlot had reportedly said during a press conference on December 16, 2019 that “vigyapan chahte ho to hamari khabar dikhao” meaning – if you want advertisements, show our news.
The notice goes on to say that such a statement is contrary to the values of Democracy and affects the reliability and freedom of the media. The council also expressed concern at the alleged statement made at a public platform which undermines the freedom of the press.
The notice has been issued by president of PCI, Justice (Retd) C K Prasad under Section 13 (Inquiry Procedure) of the Press Council Act 1979.
Gehlot has supposedly made the statement at a press conference on the occasion of completion of one year of the Congress government in Rajasthan.
He had gone on to say that media houses take advertisements worth crores and we have to call them and tell them to publish news about the government works.
BJP had raised the issue and accused Gehlot of pressurising the media. The issue had turned into a major embarrassment for Congress as Rahul Gandhi has on numerous occasions accused the prime minister and BJP of intimidating the media.
The rift within the state Congress also came to the fore when Deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot too had gone on dissociate himself from the comment. Pilot had said that this was not the stand of the Congress party.
The notice has once again provided opposition party BJP ammunition to fire salvo at the Congress and chief minister Gehlot. BJP state president Satish Poonia said, “Gehlot is the first chief minister of the state to get such a notice.
Gehlot government has been an utter failure and he should spend his time improving the situation in the state instead of threatening the media.”