Govt targeting WP, cartoonist Aseem: BJP



New Delhi: BJP on Monday alleged that while the UPA government was involved in corruption cases like coal mines allocation scam, it has started attacking democratic institutions and free speech as seen in the targeting of the 'Washington Post' newspaper and cartoonist Aseem Trivedi.

"If an article is written in Washington Post, then a letter is dashed off to it by this government. If a cartoonist, using his right to freedom of speech, expresses his views, then he becomes a danger to national security," BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said.

He was referring to the arrest of Trivedi in Mumbai on sedition charges for his cartoons.

Hussain alleged the government "has become a threat to the people" and failed to live upto their expectations.

BJP charged the government remains silent on the issues on which it is expected to give answers, including the questions raised by the media.

"The government used to refer to the praise heaped on it by the international media earlier and now when the government is being criticised by them, it is writing letters so that a message is sent across to the Indian media as well that they should not engage in criticism," Hussain said.

BJP leader L K Advani also mentioned the controversy over a "Washington Post" article criticising Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. In his blog, Advani hit out at the PM's Media Adviser for the way in which he handled the issue.

"A perfect storm was brewed out of a non-event when an officious media advisor to Dr Manmohan Singh thought that he would crush a journalist from the Washington Post, Simon Denyer, and send a stern signal to Indian reporters in the process, with a withering salvo of accusations.... If this was intended to cow down Denyer, it had the opposite effect," Advani said.

PTI