Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb recently faced backlash for his alleged comments against journalists who have been covering COVID-19 in the state. Deb on September 11 said that he will not forgive some newspapers for creating confusion regarding the state’s handling of the pandemic.
A group of journalists on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti donning black badges protested Deb’s comments against the media and his alleged assault on freedom of expression.
On September 11, while attending a programme in Sabroom, Deb had said that some media outlets were publishing “fake Covid-19 news” and that the state government would take action against them.
“Some newspapers are publishing confusing news related to Covid-19 medical management,” Deb had said at the foundation stone laying ceremony for a Special Economic Zone. “Neither history will forgive them nor will I forgive them. These media houses and newspapers are spreading fake news and scaring people.” Deb also claimed that the media was confusing people of Tripura.
Demanding withdrawal of the Chief Minister’s alleged “threats to the media, Tripura Assembly of Journalists (TAJ), a body comprising editors and working Journalists, spearheading the protests, recently met Governor Ramesh Bais seeking his intervention.
As per reports, veteran journalist Subal Kumar Dey said they would send a memorandum to the Prime Minister, Home Minister, Information and Broadcasting Minister, Press Council of India and other rights bodies in India and abroad.
“We have launched a democratic movement as the chief minister did not pay heed to our demand for withdrawing the threat,” Mr Dey said, news agency PTI reported.
Dey quoted, “After the Chief Minister’s alleged “threat”, seven journalists were attacked in different parts of Tripura but the police did not take any action against the attackers whereas the Chief Minister remained silent.”
The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) has, however, claimed that Deb’s comments were taken out of context.