New Delhi: The freedom to speak and write the truth is “under threat”, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said on Tuesday and lamented that it is painful when important things and even poetry spoken in Parliament are expunged from records.
Speaking at the Lokmat National Conclave here, the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha said that media is an important pillar of democracy but is facing suppression from the powers that be.
Noting that the Constitution guarantees the freedom of speech and expression to every Indian, he claimed that while a section of the media is fighting for this freedom, another section of media has “surrendered”.
“Today the freedom of speaking and writing the truth is under threat. Fake news, TRP scams, sensationalism and favouritism have affected the media’s image to an extent.
“In our parliamentary democracy, parliamentarians and the media have the right to ask questions, but when important matters spoken in Parliament are expunged from the records, then it pains us,” he said addressing the gathering at the event where he and other eminent parliamentarians were awarded the Lokmat Parliamentary award.
The Congress has been piqued over the Chair expunging the remarks made by Kharge and party leader Rahul Gandhi in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha respectively on the Adani issue during the first phase of the Budget session.
The party has alleged that the Opposition voices were being stifled.
“There are many big journalists who fearlessly opposed fascist, casteist forces and communalism, but are today looking weak. It is a matter of concern that out of 180 countries on freedom of media our ranking is at 150th,” the Congress chief said.
He claimed a section of the media was encouraging superstition and “questions on poverty and unemployment are vanishing”.
He said party leader Rahul Gandhi had carried out the Bharat Jodo Yatra but a section of the media “ignored” it.
He also said that the recent Congress’ Raipur plenary session which he chaired and was attended by over 10,000 leaders from across the country did not find any space in official channels including Sansad TV.
“Today there is a threat to the Constitution and democracy. We all are fighting it and the media has a significant role to play.
“Many mediapersons are good but their voice is not heard and are being arm-twisted and weakened,” he claimed while calling for strengthening the media.
The Congress, meanwhile, hailed Kharge for receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award. “Congratulations on this remarkable achievement and unwavering commitment to the nation,” the party said on its Twitter handle.