Monday, Nov 10, 2003
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By Rajesh Ahuja
Mr. Chautala strongly condemned the effort to suppress the freedom of press for political gains. Interacting with mediapersons at Kurukshetra, he expressed unhappiness over the moves of the Tamil Nadu Assembly to arrest the Editors and journalists of The Hindu and Murasoli for having "breached the privilege of the House."
Mr. Chautala said The Hindu had always played an important role in safeguarding the interests of the Indian democracy and he personally held the newspaper in high esteem.
Mr. Hooda urged the Speaker to revoke the order of arrest passed by the Assembly against the Editor, the Executive Editor, the Publisher, the Chief of Bureau and Special Correspondent of the paper.
Mr. Hooda said the freedom of speech and expression was a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution and nobody, howsoever powerful he or she may be, should interfere in the functioning of the media which worked independently to bring out the "realities" in a fair, objective and just manner. The Hindu, celebrating its 125 years, was one of the country's most-respected and bold newspapers.
The "action" of the Tamil Nadu police in raiding the office of the newspaper in Chennai and the residences of the five journalists was most "unfortunate" in a democracy.
He said that in Haryana, the erstwhile Haryana Vikas Party had brought a privilege motion against The Indian Express but the matter was "deferred" at every sitting of the House and ultimately the motion had become "defunct" with the ouster of the regime.
Legal luminary and Advocate-General, Harbhagwan Singh, criticised the action and said it was an "infringement of the freedom of the press enshrined in the Constitution''. Gagging of the press was not in the interest of democracy and the State, he opined.
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