A press conference called by the Aam Aadmi Party on Friday turned into a warzone between journalists and the party spokespersons over AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal’s recent attack on the media. At a charity dinner in Nagpur, Kejriwal had said that he will send all the “paid media houses” to jail if he is voted to power.
At the press conference, his spokespersons tried hard to defend him.
“Kejriwal only meant that a section of the media is sold. The AAP fully supports his statement. We also want to add that there are many journalists and editors who are honest and want to do good work. However, we demand a probe into the Press Council report on paid media,” AAP spokespersons Sanjay Singh and Ashutosh said.
The AAP leaders also named three news channels as being “paid media houses” and said it will approach the Election Commission with proof against these.
“When we hold a press conference, or when Kejriwal speaks, he is asked all the valid questions related to public and social welfare but when Modi gives a speech, all these issues are forgotten. Also, where did the media get the story that Kejriwal had spoken in favour of Modi? Is this journalism?” Singh said.
Kejriwal has attracted brickbats for his remarks from other political parties.
“Ye ‘khaasi baba’ se ‘maafi baba’ ban gaye hai. Pehle comment karte hain, phir maafi maangte hai. (From an old man coughing regularly, he has now become someone who seeks forgiveness after making careless remarks),” BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.
“Media has an important role to play and anyone who makes comment like this is unfortunate. Those who are in public life and politics they must face the media and criticism but I would like to tell media that since campaign for 2014 has begun they should also be balanced,” Congress leader Manish Tewari said.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, too, criticised Kejriwal, tweeting, “I really don’t get AAP & Arvind Kejriwal’s criticism of the media. But for the blanket coverage he has received AAP wouldn’t exist today.(sic)”