AAP Wednesday released a “media advisory” stating that quotes attributed to anonymous sources in news stories relating to the party will be considered unauthorised and “rejoinders” will be issued accordingly.
“It has been noticed of late that sections of the media have been attributing quotes to anonymous sources from the Aam Aadmi Party. The party takes exception to this and makes it categorically clear that the AAP will contradict and send rejoinders to these anonymous quotes, which are clearly unauthorised,” the advisory states.
It requests the media to take the party’s stand from authorised spokespersons only, and adds that “any unauthorised anonymous quotes will be treated by the party as imaginary and false”.
Both the BJP and Congress criticised the AAP’s advisory, saying it was akin to a “gag order” and an attempt to intimidate the media. Delhi Congress spokesperson Jitender Kochar said: “CM Arvind Kejriwal has always tried to suppress the media. Media has every right to talk to anyone and question top leaders. They cannot be gagged like that.”
Delhi BJP media in-charge Pratyush Kanth said, “The press statement issued by AAP is attack on the fourth pillar of democracy. It basically means that if a reporter publishes anything based on what sources tell them, or if someone informs or hands a note, they will bully him or harass him legally.”
“AAP should not forget that some of its founders were mediapersons and the reason why the party was formed was because the media supported their movement. But Kejriwal has a habit of bullying people when their use is over. He did the same with people in his own party, and is now doing it with media,” Kanth said. AAP chief spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj did not respond to calls and texts seeking a comment.