Media have the right to criticize government policies
Conspiracy, staged incident are the pet words of Mamata Banarjee, the chief minister of Bengal and the supremo of TMC, the ruling party. She and her party leaders alleged that rape to farmers suicide every incident that has happen in Bengal a section of media is hand in glove with the opposition party to malign her government by providing ‘false’ stories.Recently the library department of Bengal has issued an order asking government and government aided libraries across the state to stock eight newspapers to spread ‘free thinking’. Ironically, among the listed newspapers Sangbad Pratin is known as an unofficial mouthpiece of TMC.The owner of Sakalbela and kalam (yet to be published) is known as the close confident of Mamata Banarjee.After an uproar, five more newspapers are incorporated into the list. But,Ananda Bazar Patrika, The Telegraph, Bartaman, market leaders in news are still not on the government list. Officially, the government says that the circular issued to promote local and small newspapers.But experts believe the real fact is that Mamata doesn’t like criticism even constructive criticism. She patronizes some newspapers which blindly support all policies of the government.
Media outlets in Malawi, a small African country get regular threats from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leaders to criticize government policies.
According to Committee to protect Journalists (CPJ), 179 journalists in prison world wide, 595 journalists murdered since 1992, 908 journalists killed since 1992, 14 journalists killed in 2012. In Iran 42 journalists were jailed as Iranian authorities have reinforced controls on major media after the disputed presidential election results in June 2009. Eritrea,China ,Vietnam, Syria,Turkey where intimidation is still going on against journalists.
The first journalist who criticize the government policies was John Peter Zenger in the year 1735 in The New York Weekly Journal. He was jailed by the government but jury acquitted him.
On the other hand, Reporters Without Borders (Reporters san frontiers) compiled and published an annual report where media in less developed countries like Namibia, Mauritius,Ghana, Benin, Mauritania enjoy huge press freedom and openly criticize government policies.
Similarly,the new government of Bengal should remember that media only exercise their right to criticize government policies.