Opposition attacks Nitish govt over PCI report



Patna: Opposition on Wednesday attacked Nitish Kumar government over a Press Council of India report which accused the Bihar government of "arm-twisting" the press.

With the PCI report providing a fresh impetus to the opposition to attack the NDA government in Bihar, RJD, LJP and Congress launched a broadside against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for "gagging freedom of press".

Reacting to the three-member PCI team report submitted to PCI Chairman Justice (Retd) Markandey Katju, RJD President Lalu Prasad told reporters the NDA government deserves to drown.

"This is an explosive situation for the survival of democracy," he told reporters. The RJD supremo, whose party supports the UPA from outside, said he was making arrangements to get a copy of the report to make it public.

Lokjanshakti Party (LJP) Chief and former Union minister Ramvilas Paswan said the situation was "even worse than the one experienced during emergency."

"It is true that due to intense government pressure, the print media has virtually become a mouthpiece of government... there is no freedom of press in the state," Paswan told reporters.

Congress also criticised Nitish Kumar government over the PCI report. AICC Secretary and party in-charge of Bihar affair Gurchain Singh Charak told reporters that the "voice of media is being throttled".

In an indictment of Nitish Government, a PCI fact-finding team has accused it of "arm-twisting" press in Bihar to function as its "undeclared mouthpiece" by exploiting its monopolistic status in handing out advertisements and likened the situation to Emergency.

PTI