STATING THAT it was the Congress which imposed Emergency, Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting M Venkaiah Naidu said on Monday that Rahul Gandhi’s remark on democracy going through “one of its darkest hours” was like the “devil quoting the scriptures”.
“These sermons are coming from a party that imposed Emergency,” said Naidu, adding that “every word” spoken by Rahul “suits them (Congress) and reminds the nation of what they have done.” He said “democracy has never been (more) vibrant”.
On the one-day ban on NDTV India, Naidu said: “We have not done anything which hurts the freedom of the press.” He said some people who are criticisng the “small action” never “opened their mouths” earlier, and were “comfortably enjoying the Emergency”. Naidu said there are “violent verbal attacks” now because “it was the Congress then and BJP now”.
Naidu reiterated that 21 channels were ordered to be banned for varying durations during the UPA government. He said some of the channels were banned for airing “midnight masala”, while “we (NDA) are worried about daylight portrayal of these terrorist activities with running commentary about the whereabouts of our ammunition depot”.
Naidu said he would like to remind Rahul that it was during the Congress-led UPA government that the norms for covering terrorist attacks were stipulated. While the UPA government had issued advisories, Naidu said the BJP government introduced a rule last year, “since a rule would be more binding” than advisories.
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“We are all victims of Emergency… We will never do anything that hurts freedom of the press,” said Naidu. Stating that the Congress “has no moral right to criticise”, Naidu said, “we are not concerned about the criticism of the government at all. I am concerned abut the safety and security of the country.”