Opposition assails Bihar on `muzzling press freedom`

The Opposition charged NDA govt of muzzling freedom of press and demanded a two-hour long debate in the legislative assembly on the issue in Bihar.

Updated: Feb 19, 2013, 22:15 PM IST

Patna: Armed with the Press Council of India (PCI) report, the opposition today charged the NDA government of muzzling freedom of press and demanded a two-hour long debate in the legislative assembly on the issue.

The state government has been finally put in dock for muzzling the freedom of press and media persons, the Leader of Opposition Abdul Bari Siddique said in the legislative assembly while participating in a debate on the Governor`s address.

The PCI report says as much about lack of freedom to media and arm-twisting of the media organisations by the state government over the years, he said.

There must be at least two-hour long debate at a date to be decided conveniently by the Speaker on the issue, Siddique said.

It may be mentioned that the retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Mankandey Katju-headed PCI had recently make public its three-member fact finding report on lack of press freedom in Bihar during the NDA rule.

Katju had himself on several occasions in the past accused Kumar of snatching the freedom of press "by dangling a dole of government advertisement worth crores of rupees to the media houses and said that the state of affairs, including law and order has not improved as much as highlighted by the media."

The Leader of Opposition also took to task the state government for providing elaborate security to the VIPs and asked it to withdraw the same and engage those policemen in dealing with law and order situation of the masses.

Referring to deployment of large number of policemen on duty in the CM`s security, the Leader of Opposition said in a lighter vein that if the latter has any security threat, it was there from his allies, he said referring to the strife between the JD(U) and BJP over the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi`s future role in the party.

"If you have any threat, it could only be the Modi factor," Siddique said amid peels of laughter from members of both treasury and opposition members.

If your ally ditches you, it will not be for the first time as they had done same to the former chief minister Karpuri Thakur, he said pointing to the BJP members in the house.