Monday, February 27, 2012

Media boycotts Assembly over Speakers statement

Journalists today boycotted House proceedings and sat on a dharna outside the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly complex in protest of Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone's comment that the "Media was under his control".

The remark came after Health Minister Sham Lal Sharma, in the Assembly, raised the issue of a story carried by a local newspaper against him and his department, and sought action against the newspaper.

Appealing to the Speaker to seek an explanation from the newspaper, Sharma alleged that a section of media was carrying out a vilification campaign against state ministers.

Sharma was backed by PHE and Irrigation Minister Taj Mohideen, who said that serious allegations have been made against some ministers.

The Speaker said that he would announce his ruling over the issue and give direction to the media.

When PDP MLA Nizam-uddin Bhat pointed that the matter cannot be decided in Assembly and it should be taken up with the Press Council of India, Lone said that "media is under his control and they will have to reveal their sources".

"Media is under control of this House," the Speaker said.

Protesting against this comment the mediamen walked out of the press gallery and boycotted the proceedings. They sat on dharna outside the Assembly complex in protest against the Speaker's comment.

The journalists demanded that Lone's statement be expunged from proceedings. They said that the freedom of press cannot be undermined by the Speaker.

The Assembly proceedings continued without presence of media, who decided to continue the boycott tomorrow.

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