The NDA government believes in freedom of press as it wants a vibrant media for betterment of democracy, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said on Monday. “We will never compromise on press freedom. The government will never interfere except when the issue relates to national security, unity and integrity of the country and the established social order comes under threat,” he said.
The Modi government has come under fire over the recent CBI raids on the homes and head offices of Delhi-based NDTV. Many journalists have termed the incident as muzzling the press freedom. “You can see how much criticism the government faces from the media. Even the prime minister is criticised, but the government never meddles with it,” Naidu said.
He said a Delhi-based national daily “never hesitates to write ‘worst’ on Narendra Modi.” “But we have not reacted,” he said, adding giving a political colour to the NDTV case is “unfortunate”. Rejecting allegations of attack on freedom of press in the NDTV case, the BJP leader said, “The ongoing investigation against NDTV is in no way an attack on press freedom. It will be better if they (NDTV) cooperate with the ongoing probe.”
The Union minister was in Bhubaneswar to attend a ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Bikas’ programme. “Is it wrong if there is a probe on an allegation against management or owner of a media company? Shouldn’t an allegation be probed?” he asked. He said the allegations against the NDTV were made way back in 2011-12 when Narendra Modi was in Gujarat. “The allegation was made when Manmohanji was the Prime Minister, Chidambaram a minister and Rahul Gandhi was managing the government,” he said. Meanwhile, a group of journalists in Bhubaneswar staged a demonstration during Naidu’s visit.