Narendra Modi and Manish Tewari in war of words over media coverage of speeches

Narendra Modi and Manish Tewari in war of words over media coverage of speeches

The circular refers to the coverage of the PM's speech alongside that of "other political leaders".

An advisory issued by the I&B Ministry to television channels last month on the portrayal of BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi vis-a-vis coverage of official functions of the PM/President has become the latest ground for a fresh war of words between the Congress and the BJP.

I&B Minister Manish Tewari had defended the October 21 circular on Thursday claiming that not only it is not binding on channels but it also pertains to special days like August 15 and January 26 when the addresses of the President and the Prime Minister are in their capacity as leaders of the nation and not as representatives of political parties. Modi hit back in his speech at Bahraich Friday,saying the real reason for the government’s concern was not “belittling” of the Prime Minister but concern that Modi’s rally in Patna might get prominence over that of Rahul in Delhi on October 27.

“The advisory was ordered not for showing the Gujarat CM along with PM on TV screens on Independence Day,they were not worried about the dignity of the PM but they were worried that on October 27,Modi and Rajnath were speaking in Patna and the Congress’s shehzada was speaking in Delhi. TV channels were live with Modi’s speech and not with Rahul’s rally,” Modi said.

Issued more than two months after Independence Day,the circular in question refers to the coverage of the Prime Minister’s speech alongside that of “other political leaders”. It says: “Whereas the telecast of this kind of programme on a day when entire nation was celebrating its 67th Independence Day is highly objectionable. The PM spoke from the ramparts of Red Fort as the PM of the country and not as a leader of a political party. Therefore,on such a solemn day to put him in an artificial competition with anyone is not appropriate. On Independence Day when the Prime Minister addresses the nation and the country is united in the emotions of national integrity,patriotism and national fervour,the attempt by certain TV channels to denigrate the status of the Prime Minister can best be described as sensational against all norms of ethical journalism.”


Insinuating that the juxtaposition of the PM to other leaders amounted to a violation of the programme code,the circular went on to add that any further violation could invite penal action against offending channels.

Tewari punches holes in Advani’s Patel claim

Punching holes in claims made by BJP patriarch L K Advani who quoted from a book to say that Jawaharlal Nehru had called Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel a “total communalist”,Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari has said this was yet another instance of how the BJP “does not let facts stand in the way of its myth making”.

He said he had checked up the credentials of the author in question,M K K Nair,and given his year of birth and the purported year he joined the civil service,it was unlikely that at the time of the police action in Hyderabad,he was in a position to be privy to proceedings in the cabinet.

“Mr Advani for whom I have a lot of respect and who is a very senior leader of India,referred in his blog to an officer of the civil service called M K K Nair and said that in his book Nehru is quoted as having made this remark. I checked up on Google and found an officer who was born in 1930 and joined the service in 1950,” Tewari said at a press conference to announce the upcoming International Film Festival of India on Thursday. “How come he had access to what happened in the cabinet before he joined? If for argument sake we say this is a different man and there was somebody who had joined the service in 1947,even then he would have been too junior a year later to sit in the cabinet.”