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  India   All India  05 Apr 2019  Congress manifesto calls for media regulation: Arun Jaitley

Congress manifesto calls for media regulation: Arun Jaitley

Published : Apr 5, 2019, 6:33 am IST
Updated : Apr 5, 2019, 6:33 am IST

Congress agenda is to restrict free journalism, says Jaitley.

Union finance minister Arun Jaitley (Photo: ANI)
 Union finance minister Arun Jaitley (Photo: ANI)

New Delhi: Continuing its attack on the Congress' 2019 election manifesto, the BJP on Thursday said that the suggestions in the poll document regarding strengthning the media will only end up demolishing the otherwise current structure of independent media in  the country and reminded the Opposition party that it was its stalwart and the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who had revoked the Press Council Act and abolished the Press Council by an Ordinance. Union finance minister and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said that the suggestions in the Congress manifesto will regulate and restrict free journalism and otherwise multiplicity of Indian media, which is "anachronic." The ruling BJP had termed the Congress manifesto, which was released earlier this week, as "liberal towards terrorists, criminals and insurgents."

In a blogpost, Mr Jaitley wrote that the promise of a legislation to curb monopolies and   to bar cross media holdings of the different segments of the media to restrict the ownership of media by group doing other business, will be nothing but the "culmination  of both the anti-media  and the  'large  is  evil' conventional ideology of the Congress."

A convergence of both left and dictatorial attitudes," wrote the senior leader.

Taking an apparent dig at senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram, who was the chairman of the manifesto committee, Union minister Arun Jaitley said the "gentleman who drafted the manifesto is the same who had drafted the ill-fated Defamation Bill, 1988," which provided for enhanced punishment for defamation and  while in the Opposition now "he wants to decriminalise defamation."

"Ultimately, the enormity of the size of Indian media balances things out.

Why is then a parliamentary legislation required? Such a parliamentary legislation is ill advised," said Mr Jaitley.

To a poll promise in the document of a law to maintain the freedom of internet and not arbitrarily shut it down, Mr Jaitley said such a power is generally exercised only when  operations against terrorism and insurgency  are in progress.   They   have   to   be   exercised   instantaneously."

"Restricting such power during anti-insurgency operations or where caste or communal violence is on, will hinder national interest. In some situations of either insurgent violence or massive social tensions, frenzies can be created on the social media.  The mischief makers want to achieve that. The Congress wants the power of the security forces in this regard to be regulated," wrote the Union minister.

Tags: arun jaitley, congress manifesto
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi