New Delhi, Apr 4: Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday alleged that the Congress is planning to form a "code of conduct" on coverage of event by the media and said such a move was not necessary when media organisations are themselves keeping national interest in mind.
"Today, the Congress wants to strengthen it and allow it to form a Code of Conduct on coverage of event of national interest. The issue is redundant since guidelines already exist. Initially where there were some stray cases of breach of those guidelines where the media organisations were given an advisory or a caution. Recently, on most occasions, the media organisations have borne the national interest in mind. Why regulate if the problem does not seriously exist?" he wrote in a Facebook blog.
He also sought to remind that during Emergency the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had revoked the Press Council Act and abolished the Press Council by an Ordinance.
Mr Jaitley, who also held the charge of Information and Broadcasting Ministry for a brief period, said in general the big media houses have the strength to resist "restrictions" and thus any move by the Congress or anyone else will only meet the fate of the 1988 Defamation Bill, piloted by the Rajiv Gandhi government.
"History has witnessed, both in the case of fake news and paid news, as also resistance to political and Governmental pressures, professionally managed large organisation are less vulnerable. They have a muscle to resist. Why does the Congress want to unscramble a scrambled egg? This move will meet the fate of the 1988 Defamation Bill."
On the issue of 'cross media holdings', he said with the advent of technology, the concept of cross media holdings "stands demolished".
"Many newspapers across the country, both national and regional, run news channels, digital websites, and even newspapers. How is public interest advanced that if you run one, medium, you should be barred from running another? Is there a ‘real and imminent danger’ of monopolies being created? Individual citizen like me also write a blog on the Facebook and the Twitter and also release in an audio/video form. Technology has enabled this. The whole concept of cross holding that if you own one segment of media, you should be barred from having the other is technologically obsolete," he maintained.
Mr Jaitley said the manifesto’s media chapter contains suggestions each one of which will regulate and restrict free journalism and otherwise multiplicity of Indian media. It is anachronic.
"It is not in tune with the times. However, even while drafting this chapter, a new facility is sought to be provided to the terrorists and the insurgents," he added. (UNI)