BJP advises media to act be more responsible

Political parties across the spectrum, including ally Bharatiya Janata Party, condemned the attack on The Times of India office by some Shiv Sena workers on Saturday. Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar also joined the condemnation.

The Mumbai Press Club said that it will hold a protest rally next week against the growing attacks on journalists and press for a strong legislation to protect them.

Playing down the attack and advising the media to act responsibly, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said: “A politician has to work very hard to rise to a party position. One news item can ruin his political career. We have never supported violent attacks, but the newspaper should not have printed his name. The police should also take action against Madhukar Pichad whose announcement caused the mayhem. Even the media should act responsibly.”

Mr. Chavan has ordered the police to take strict action against those arrested. The attack signified that the party ruling the city's civic body had lost confidence in itself.

“In a democracy, everyone has the right to put forth one's view. If any political party has an objection to any news carried in a newspaper, there are democratic ways of putting it forth. Such an attack on the head office of a paper like Maharashtra Times does not suit the party.”

Mr. Pawar said: “Shiv Sena is baffled as it is losing the support of the people in the city and in the State. This cowardly and shameful attack on Maharashtra Times indicates the same defeatist tendency of the party. Independent media is important in a democracy. The efforts to keep a check on journalism by means of such cowardly attacks won't be successful.”

The Nationalist Congress Party also condemned the attack. NCP leader Jitendra Avhad visited The Times of India office. The party later issued a statement saying: “Everyone has the opportunity to deny the wrong reports about him. But such an act is a cowardly attack on the freedom of expression.”

BJP while criticising the attack advised the media to be more responsible. “We have put forth two points. We have never supported such kinds of attacks on the media and on the newspapers. Such attacks do not yield anything. But even journalists should follow a few principles while reporting. They should not carry defamatory articles about any party or any individual,” party spokesperson Madhav Bhandari told The Hindu.

The Mumbai Press Club said in a statement: “The attack is not just an attack on Maharashtra Times or The Times of India Group, but the entire media fraternity. Such attacks would not be tolerated. The Press Club in strongest words condemns this act of cowardice by supporters of Mr. Adsul.”

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