Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy is getting condemned for stifling the media freedom by asking the officials to move court agint the media house if they find any news wrong information or malafide intentions.
After the government order (GO) evoked an outcry from the journalists” unions, civil society organisations and opposition parties, the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) clarified that it has only decentralised the powers hitherto vested with the Commissioner of Information and Public Relations. The government also made it clear that filing of cases will be the last resort. It said the process will start with issuing a rejoinder, ensuing that the correction is given the same prominence as the wrongly published/televised news was given, including the placement/time slot and has full clarity besides being properly sourced.
The Jagan Mohan Reddy government, which came under attack for suppressing the freedom of press, claimed that it is committed to uphold democratic norms. It believes that there is imperative need for the flow of news pertaining to various government departments in an accurate manner without any ”distortion, slant or prejudice”. The clarification, however, failed to allay the apprehensions among the journalist community that the powers will be misused to target the media houses, especially those critical of the government or the ruling party.
Jagan receives flak for media curtail
“Rajasekhara Reddy had brought this GO after being in power for three years, but his son Jagan Mohan Reddy has invoked this in just five months. The language in the GO virtually forecloses any critical story or the ones differing with the government version,” political analyst and veteran journalist Telakapalli Ravi said.
“There is no doubt that the media is not above criticism as it is highly polarised. Complaints can be filed against them, but threatening them with cases or stopping channels can never be tolerated, especially when such moves are questioned even in the present day Kashmir,” said Ravi.