Assam's Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has made some shocking statements during a heated exchange with the media at the inauguration of a BJP magazine here on Wednesday.
The NEDA Convenor lashed out at the media and (somewhat shockingly!) said that the media does not have the moral high ground required to question him.
Biswa Sarma got into a war of words after the event and said that the media should apologize for publishing incorrect news.
"Should I remind you of your headlines from 2001, 2006, 2011? ", he asked.
Sarma said that since audiences pay money to access news networks, they should apologize for spreading "bad" and "incorrect" news.
"People pay for you...your money comes from the people. You have lost the right to question me a long time ago", he added.
Himanta Biswa Sarma also warned the media to ask questions within their "limitations" and said that the media asks him diffucult questions because of their personal distaste for him.
This statement from one of the leading political figures from the region is indeed alarming as it would seem that the Minister is seeking to curtail the freedom of the press. The Press reserves the right to pose any question any individual and these attacks on the fourth pillar of democracy are an attack on democracy itself.
The United Nations' 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers"
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