The journalist association across the nation did not take the comment of Congress party president, Rahul Gandhi, on the Group Editor of news agency ANI, who interviewed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on wide ranging concerns of the nation, lightly. The Congress party president had, on Wednesday, called the journalist who took PM Modi’s interview ‘pliable’ which the whole of journalists’ associations have strongly condemned. “badmouthing a journalist simply because she conducted an interview with a rival political leader is in poor taste and amounts to shooting the messenger,” read the statement issued by the Delhi Journalist Association (DJA), an affiliate of National Union of Journalists (India) (NUJ) (India). DJA also asked Gandhi to apologize for his comments and express regret over his misconduct. The association tagged Gandhi’s comments as “unwarranted and unbecoming” to come from a senior leader of a national political party like Congress.
Rahul Gandhi was criticized for his disregarded comments over the interview conducted by the news agency, ANI, with PM Modi. In a press conference on Wednesday, Congress chief had called the interview “staged” and interviewer a “pliable journalist” who was asking questions and answered at the same time. “He (PM Modi) does not have the guts to come and sit in front of you. And I am coming here..you can ask me any question..I come here once in 7-10 days..and you saw the Prime Minister’s interview yesterday..matlab pliable journalist, woh question bi kar rahi thi, pradhan mantri ka answer bi de rahi thi, side me (the journalist was asking the question and answering at the same time),” Gandhi had said on Wednesday, quoted TV reports. The Gandhi scion, seemingly, didn’t realize that his remark on the journalist will make him the center of criticism. “Dear Mr. Rahul Gandhi, cheap shot at your press conference to attack me. I was asking questions not answering. You want to attack Mr. Modi, go ahead but downright absurd to ridicule me. Not expected of a president of the oldest political party in the country.” tweeted the journalist, Smita Prakash, who interviewed PM Modi.
Gandhi’s act was criticized strongly by the National Union of Journalists (India) as well as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which asked the Congress party chief to apologize for his condemnable remark on the journalist. “Shooting the messenger!! Not done Mr. @RahulGandhi, cheap stunt at your press conference to attack @smitaprakash who was asking questions not answering. Go ahead fight @narendramodi @arunjaitley @BJP4India but its unbecoming of president @INCIndia to ridicule the @ANI interviewer,” tweeted NUJ (India) on Thursday. From BJP, the national media head and member of Rajya Sabha, Anil Baluni, came forward to seek an apology from Rahul Gandhi over his remark on PM Modi’s interviewer. “This has been the Congress’ mindset about independent journalism. Rahul Gandhi’s DNA is of the Emergency. His party has a history of throttling journalism. He should apologize to the country’s journalists for his petty remarks,” Baluni condemned Congress party president’s remark.
We hope that all political party leaders including Congress president, Rahul Gandhi, must value the role of journalists who report the facts selflessly and for the nation’s interest. Many journalists lose their lives while performing their duty selflessly and sincerely, all political leaders and other stakeholders of the nation must consider this fact before raising their fingers at journalists.