Patna/Gaya: Press Council of India Chairman
Markandeya Katju utterances on alleged violation of press
freedom in Bihar drew sharp reaction from Nitish Kumar`s
ruling JD(U) and BJP while opposition Congress and RJD backed
the former Supreme Court judge.
Justice Katju, who alleged that the media in Bihar was
targeted if it wrote against the government, today said his
remarks should not be considered as his final opinion and a
three-member panel had been constituted to probe complaints of
The former judge made the remarks only to hog headlines
in newspapers, JD(U) spokesman Shivanand Tiwari said while
rejecting the charge of curbs being put on the media in Bihar.
Objecting to the remarks, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil
Kumar Modi said they were improper.
"Katju is in the habit of making such uncalled for,
unwarranted and `anaap shanap` (nonsense) ... He should join
active politics instead of making such remarks," he said.
Supporting the judge, Union Minister Subodh Kant Sahai
said there was truth in his observations that release of
government advertisements were being used to force newspapers
to write positive news about the state.
Kumar`s arch rival, Lalu Prasad said due to pressure from
the state government, the media was forced to act as its
Justice Katju said a three-member panel had been
constituted to probe complaints of the journalists.
Bihar government too would be free to present its views
before the probe panel which would comprise members of PCI
sub-committee Rajiv Ranjan Nag, Arun Kumar and Kalyan Barua,
Katju told PTI.
The panel would inquire into complaints of harassment
faced by reporters writing against the state government in
newspapers or magazines and would submit their report to him.
"I hope we will be able to ensure fair, independent
and impartial inquiry to find out the truth of the
complaints," he said.
PCI would take action after receiving the inquiry
report, he said.
"Journalists are being dismissed or removed or shunted
out or advertisements are being withheld to newspapers for
writing against the government," he said.