RJD attacks Nitish Govt over PCI report on press freedom

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Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at JD(U) office, in Patna. File Photo.
Ranjeet Kumar Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at JD(U) office, in Patna. File Photo.

Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) today attacked Bihar Government in the State Assembly over the report of Press Council of India (PCI) alleging the Government of “arm-twisting” media in its favour.

After rejection of their adjournment motion, RJD members trooped into well of the House and shouted slogans against the Government over PCI’s team report about media freedom in Bihar.

Leader of Opposition Abdul Bari Siddiqui urged the Speaker Udai Narayan Chaudhary that if he has rejected the adjournment motion he should allow a special debate on the subject.

The protesting RJD members shouted slogans against Nitish Kumar Government “gagging freedom of press” and forcing the news organisations to work in its favour by providing huge advertisements. They had indulged in slogan shouting at the gate of Assembly before the House began for the day.

The issue took a serious turn when Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and Leader of the Opposition Abdul Bari Siddiqui indulged in a verbal duel challenging each other over authenticity of the report of a three-member team formed by Chairman Markandey Katju over press freedom in Bihar.

Modi claimed that according a member of the PCI, who he had spoken to, the report has yet not been officially approved by the council and was “leaked“.

However, Siddiqui insisted that the report was official and if Modi was not convinced he could talk to Chairman Katju directly.

The RJD members continued to disrupt zero hour and time alloted for call attention motion. They returned to their seats only when the Speaker announced Siddiqui’s name to read his call attention notice.

The PCI report on Bihar has triggered a major political storm with opposition RJD and LJP attacking the Nitish Kumar Government over attacking freedom of press.

Ruling JD(U) has rubbished the report and charged Katju with working like a “Congress agent” against non-Congress Governments.

(This article was published on February 20, 2013)
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