In a controversial move, the Congress party prevented two national TV channels - Times Now and Republic TV - from covering their press meet in Bengaluru on Tuesday.
The press meet was called by Karnataka Congress Working President Dinesh Gundu Rao on the issue of the party’s social media strategy ahead of the 2018 Assembly polls.
The decision was reportedly taken due to the reservations of the party over the two channels’ coverage of corruption allegations against Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Asking the reporters of both the channels to leave the press meet, Dinesh Gundu Rao accused the channels of carrying out agendas of the ruling party at the Centre.
“You carry out a premeditated, biased and fixed agenda of the ruling party, journalism is about asking difficult questions. It’s about showing the mirror of truth, not become mirror of the BJP,” Dinesh Gundi Rao said.
“Conduct any investigations against Robert Vadra and come to a conclusion by law. In 41 months of witch-hunting, they have not come at any violation of laws in Haryana and Rajasthan. We ask PM - this is the litmus test if his credibility, neutrality and good belief in accountability and transparency,” he added.
Speaking on the allegations against Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah based on a recent media report by The Wire, he said, “What is the reluctance of PM? Why doesn’t he come forward to order an inquiry? Whoever is wrong and right will be proved. For a free and fair inquiry, let Amit Shah step down,” the senior Congressman said..
“Let the PM speak up. He has to answer to 130 crore people of India,” Dinesh said.
The incident triggered a reaction from the National Media Forum which criticised the move.
“We at the National Media Forum believe that reporters on the ground are only carrying out tasks assigned to them and to drag the individual reporters in the conflict between a party and the channel is not the best thing to do,” Vijay Grover, Consulting Editor Policy Pulse and President of the National Media Forum, Bengaluru said in a statement.
The body claimed that Dinesh Gundu Rao had promised that both the channels will be allowed to cover Congress party events in the future.