The Modi Government has stopped issuing advertisements in major newspapers such as the Times of India, The Hindu, Economic Times, The Telegraph and Ananda Bazar Patrika(ABP) and the reason is believed to be the very negative reporting against the Government as well as against prime minister Narendra Modi. The Central Government’s advertisements in The Hindu stopped in March after the Rafale deal illegalities series. Advertisements in Sameer-Vineet Jain brothers-owned The Times Group stopped from June onwards.
This ban also covers Jain brother’s TV channels Times Now and Mirror Now, which cleverly take diametrically opposite positions in covering news. Insiders say, the entire Times Group faced the wrath of the Government for publishing a campaign-like series of reports against prime minister Narendra Modi during the Lok Sabha election campaign accusing him of violating the Model Code of Conduct. Many Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders feel this was a Congress-supported ploy to file complaints with the Election Commission against Modi.
Though these big media houses kept silent, the Congress party raised the issue in Lok Sabha on Wednesday. Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, leader of Congress in Lok Sabha raised the issue by accusing Modi Government of indulging in undemocratic and megalomaniac style and trying to suppress freedom of the press.
He accused that the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP), the Central Government’s advertising releasing nodal agency was asked to stop issuing advertisements to these big media houses such as The Hindu, The Times Group etc for their critical reports. “The undemocratic and megalomaniac style of stopping Government advertisements is a message to the media from this Government to toe its line. Rafale deal was engulfed in controversies, favouritism and corruption. The Hindu newspaper exposed it. The Times of India exposed the violation of Model Code of Conduct by the prime minister Narendra Modi. The Telegraph and ABP were critical of the prime minister. This is a democratic country and the freedom of expression and freedom of press are so much important that everybody must stand up to protect these basic rights,” he accused Modi Government.
As per the industry statistics, Times of India Group is getting an average of more than Rs. 15 crores per month from Central Government’s advertisements and The Hindu is getting around Rs.4 crores per month on an average basis. It is heard that The Times Group’s managing director Vineet Jain is trying to get an appointment with prime minister Narendra Modi to sort out this issue, which hits the revenue of his firm.
The article was first published on pgurus.com.