The party will lodge a complaint with EC
Defending Arvind Kejriwal’s allegation of “paid news” and of a section of the media promoting the “agenda” of the BJP and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Aam Aadmi Party leaders said on Friday that they would lodge a complaint with the Election Commission in this regard.
They named four news channels which were allegedly running a tirade against the party and its convener.
At a press conference here, AAP leaders Sanjay Singh, Ashutosh and Ashish Khetan got into heated arguments with journalists who questioned their charges.
Commenting on the development in a Twitter post, Rajdeep Sardesai of CNN-IBN said: “Kejriwal should name the journalists/editors who he claims are ‘paid.’ Sweeping statements not done.”
Referring to Mr. Kejriwal’s remarks in Nagpur about media organisations “running” the agenda of the BJP and Mr. Modi, Mr. Singh said what he meant was that a “section of the media” was biased in favour of the BJP, and that the party would complain to the EC.
Accusing the media of being “sold out,” Mr. Kejriwal on Thursday threatened to send media persons to jail after an inquiry if his party came to power. However, after his remarks came under attack from the BJP, the Congress and the CPI, Mr. Kejriwal issued a denial.
Mr. Singh charged some news channels with “twisting” news. They had reported that Mr. Kejriwal had told a meeting in Mumbai that he would prefer Mr. Modi to BSP chief Mayawati as Prime Minister. Mr. Kejriwal issued a denial on Twitter.
Another channel, he said, would lay out empty chairs and say the AAP declined to participate in its show. A Hindi channel ran a scroll NaMo, NaMo kar rahe Kejriwal. These were all wrong, he said.
He also demanded a probe into the sting operation that had allegedly found evidence that opinion polls shown on channels were rigged.
Former journalist and AAP candidate from the New Delhi Lok Sabha constituency Ashish Khetan said a section of the media was promoting Mr. Modi and did not write critical stories about him and his government in Gujarat. “There are so many issues but the media is after only Mr. Kejriwal. Not even one question is asked about Mr. Modi’s rallies.”
The leaders alleged that promoters were mounting pressure on editors and it would only worsen in the run-up to the elections. However, they added that there were many editors with high integrity.
Mr. Kejriwal’s comments in Nagpur not only riled the BJP, the Congress, and the CPI but also the Broadcast Editors’ Association, which said: “It is wrong to say that TV channels are pursuing a biased agenda in favour of any person or party.”
It said channels were operating in a “free and fair manner” and it had a strong faith in the self-regulatory mechanisms. “Vague and sweeping allegations are a sign of weakness.”