Mamata Banerjee accused of promoting Saradha's newspapers

Accusing West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of efforts to promote newspapers of the Saradha group, retired Supreme Court judge AK Ganguly on Wednesday said no other government anywhere in the country had tried to "dictate" to the people which dailies they should read.

IANS| Last Updated: Sep 10, 2014, 19:53 PM IST

Kolkata: Accusing West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of efforts to promote newspapers of the Saradha group, retired Supreme Court judge AK Ganguly on Wednesday said no other government anywhere in the country had tried to "dictate" to the people which dailies they should read.

"I hope all of you remember she had once more or less given a directive on which newspapers people should read. These newspapers have now closed shop. Because they were sponsored by the Saradha chit fund," he said.

Ganguly, a former chairperson of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission, said none of the newspapers sponsored by the Saradha Group resembled the characteristics of the mass media.

"They only sang paeans (to the chief minister)," he said at a programme here. "I don't know such attempts (to dictate to the people which newspapers they should read) were made by any other government anywhere in the country."

Ganguly's remarks were seemingly directed at the state government order in March, 2012, to ban leading dailies including all English newspapers, except eight Bengali, Urdu and Hindi newspapers, in state-funded libraries to promote "free thinking".

While the papers which got the nod were mostly pro-government, several of them were brought out by the Saradha Group.

The order had kicked up a storm with opposition parties and members of civil society strongly criticising the state government. Later, the order was modified and some more dailies got the green signal.