New Delhi, May 10 (IANS) Under fire over his “anti-media” circular, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday suggested that some senior journalists could come together to float their own “honest and independent” news channel or newspaper and his government will support any such move.
Interacting with party volunteers on Google Hangouts, he also asked people to compare performance of his government to that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi while claiming his Aam Aadmi Party’s popularity had further gone up. Kejriwal, who has complained about sections of media in the past, said on Sunday that media shows “us (as being) very aggressive”.
“We don’t want to start any media (of our own). But, I think that several good people in media are also sad over the goings on. If some big people working in media start their own new channel or a newspaper in a joint effort, the Delhi government is ready to help them. We want an honest and independent media which show news, not false news…If anyone wants to start a good media, Delhi government would help them,” he said in answer to a query.
He, however, did not spell out the “help” his government would offer to any such venture. The Kejriwal government and his Aam Aadmi Party have been in the media spotlight over a range of issues including suicide by a farmer at a party rally and inner party wrangling. The government also faced strong criticism from the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress for issuing a circular to its officials to report any news damaging reputation of the chief minister, his council of ministers and the government.
On Saturday, the Delhi government had decided to file defamation cases against media groups for publishing or broadcasting any news that damages its reputation and the circular asked any official who feels that a published or aired item damages his or the government’s reputation to file a complaint with the principal secretary (home).
The stand is seen at variance with Kejriwal’s own on the issue of defamation in cases faced by him. On his first interaction with party volunteers through Google Hangouts after he became chief minister, Kejriwal said he will continue the process at least once a month.
Noting that his government will complete 100 days on May 24 and the central government will complete one year on May 26, he said: “People should look at the difference between both the governments.” The chief minister said he keeps a tab on the working of the legislators and while most legislators were working fine, some were “a bit lazy.”
He claimed that AAP’s popularity has increased since it formed the government in February after winning 67 of 70 seats. “People’s affection with our government has increased. We will get 72 percent vote if election was held today,” he said.