After slamming Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan over attacks on journalists in the state,Press Council Chairman Justice Markandey Katju today targeted the Bihar government alleging the media in this state was harassed if it wrote against the government.
Katju said the information he had gathered about the media in Bihar is “not good” and reminded the Nitish Kumar government that its alleged action against the press was a violation of the Constitution. A three-member PCI team would be sent to Bihar soon for an investigation,he added.
Katju’s statement during an interaction session at the Senate Hall in Patna University sparked instant protest by the Principal of Patna College Lalkeshwar Prasad,who left in a huff. It caused disruption in the programme for some time.
After the departure of Prasad,Katju said he was a democratic person thoroughly “and if anybody doesn’t agree to whatever I speak … they should not try to disturb … don’t
pick up a fight with a man from Allahabad. I know how to set things right.”
At the start of his interaction,he said,”I have heard that the present government established better law and order in Bihar compared to the erstwhile rule of Lalu Prasad.
“The second thing I have heard is that there was freedom of the press during Lalu’s rule …. but press doesn’t enjoy freedom at present”.
“The information I have gathered about the media in Bihar is not good … whatever is happening here is not good,” he added.
Katju said “whatever I have heard or come across I am narrating here … I have not yet established my opinion at this stage fully … but whatever information I have gathered on the basis of it I can at least say that I will get it inquired into.
He said if any reporter wrote anything against the government,ministers or officials in the state,pressure was built on the owner and the management of the media house for removing him from service or to transfer him to small towns.
On Wednesday,Justice Katju had issued a showcause notice to the Maharashtra CM and threatened to recommend dismissal of the state government to the President over
attacks on journalists in the state.