Recently, Arvind Kejriwal made a comment that a section of the media, both electronic and print, is biased towards other politicians (Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi). The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) has reacted to these allegations in a press statement. The NBA's stand is - accusations that cannot be substantiated ought not to be made.
Kejriwal rose to gain popularity on the back of Anna Hazare's movement two years ago and took the position as chief minister of Delhi on December 28, 2013. He held the position for 48 days, before resigning.
It is the belief of many that some amount of Aam Aadmi Party's popularity can be attributed to the media coverage and digital engagement around it.
The press statement by NBA reads as follows:
News Broadcasters Association (NBA) objects to the unverified, unsubstantiated and highly defamatory charges being levelled against news channels by Mr Arvind Kejriwal of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and their members attributing corrupt motives and accusing the electronic media for not giving enough coverage or ignoring this or that party, without specific details to substantiate such charges. It is shocking to note that the very parties that gained immensely from media coverage are today turning against the electronic media, when they are under scrutiny on issues of governance.
NBA is equally shocked by the Home Minister of India's statement that he would crush the electronic media and that a "close watch" was being kept on them.
NBA categorically states that a news channel's endeavour is to cover news worthy events across all segments of national and international life and to present news to viewers which is current and relevant. The media provides a service that is essential for any democratic society. This is particularly important when the most fundamental aspect of a democracy, the elections, are round the corner. At such a time, the media plays an indispensable role in enabling citizens to stay well informed and make important choices. There can be no acceptable reason for attacking the media on frivolous unsubstantiated grounds. Intimidation and preventing the media from performing its duties amounts to interfering with the freedoms enshrined in and guaranteed by the Constitution.
NBA appeals to political leaders from all parties and public figures not to level baseless charges against the media and keep the discourse civil and sane.