New Delhi: Ruling government at Centre led by Narendra Modi has abruptly stopped providing advertisements to three major newspaper groups reported Reuters.
Before the ‘freeze’, around 15% of Times group’s Advertising used to come from the government said an Executive at Bennett, Coleman & Co which controls the Times group, Reuters reported.
The three major newspapers that have suffered severe backlash as far as advertisements are related are Times Group, the ABP Group, which publishes The Telegraph, and The Hindu newspaper, Scroll reports.
The same was confirmed by two ABP Group officials who said the organisation has seen a 15% drop in government ads for six months.
“Once you don’t toe the government line in your editorial coverage and you write anything against the government, then obviously the only way they can penalise you to choke your advertising supply,” one of the executives on the condition of anonymity said.
“Press freedom must be maintained and it will be maintained despite these things,” adds another official.
Speaking of the Hindu newspaper, this too has seen a fall in advertisements from the government in recent months, after it published a report in February alleging wrongdoing in the Rafale aircraft deal between India and France.
Opposition party Congress criticised the freeze on government advertisements. Party Leader in lol Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said: “The undemocratic and megalomaniac style of stopping government advertisement is a message to media from this government to toe its line.”
However, the Narendra Modi led ruling party BJP has rejected the charges. BJP Spokesperson Nalin Kohli said there was a lot of criticism of the government in newspapers and on television channels. “That’s testimony of freedom of speech,” he said. “The suggestion that the BJP is throttling free press is ridiculous.”