The Editors Guild of India (EGI) on Monday expressed concern over the growing attacks and unsubstantiated charges levelled against the media by political leaders and public figures dissatisfied with the coverage of their activities or with criticism from the media.
Though the Guild said leaders of established parties were equally guilty of this, a statement issued by EGI flagged Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal’s statement attributing corrupt motives to the media and former Army chief V. K. Singh’s use of the word ``presstitutes’’ to describe journalists who reported on concern in government circles over the movement of army units.
Mr. Kejriwal had at a rally in Rohtak on Sunday charged the media with being pressured into ignoring him without coming up with specific details or material to substantiate the charges. ``Ironically, leaders who built up reputations and support by engaging the public through the media are now turning on the very media when they come under critical scrutiny,’’ the Guild noted.
Maintaining that the media should be open to criticism and its flaws being exposed, the Guild said the problem arises when vague, unsubstantiated accusations of corrupt motives take the place of reasoned refutation and debate. ``An additional danger is that some of the followers could take their cue from the statements of leaders and may not stop with verbal attacks,’’ the statement said, pointing out the physical attacks on print and television journalists by political party workers.
The Guild also urged political leaders and public figures not to resort to abuses when refuting, questioning or criticising the media, and to keep public discourse civil and within reasonable bounds.