Aam Aadmi Party on Friday officially confirmed what Janta Ka Reporter had reported on the alleged boycott by news agency ANI of the events organised by the party and the Delhi government.
Delhi chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, termed the revelation ‘shocking.’
He tweeted, “If this is true, it is shocking. Modi govt manipulating, armtwisting n threatening media.” (sic)
If this is true, it is shocking. Modi govt manipulating, armtwisting n threatening media https://t.co/vnYI6IWzXe
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) December 30, 2016
Kejriwal was responding to a tweet posted by his party colleague, Deepak Bajpai, who alleged that ‘under instructions of Narendra Modi,’ the ANI boss, Smita Prakash had ‘directed’ all reporters not to cover events organised by Kejriwal.
— Deepak Bajpai (@BajpaiDeepak) December 30, 2016
The allegation divided opinion in the media fraternity with two journalists working for CNN-News18 publicly disagreeing on the charge made by Bajpai.
Pallavi Ghosh, Senior Editor (politics) in CNN-News18, rejected the allegations saying it was untrue.
— pallavi ghosh (@_pallavighosh) December 30, 2016
Ghosh’s colleague in the channel, Rupashree Nanda, disagreed with her and said that it was ‘true that in many instances ANI does not give live feed these days.’
We get our footage from our resources…it is true that in many instances ANI does not give live feed these days. https://t.co/a0S0WjNC2O
— Rupashree Nanda (@rupashreenanda) December 30, 2016
Speaking to Janta Ka Reporter on 21 December, a Delhi government spokesperson had said that the news agency had begun the boycott of AAP event since the Delhi chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, accused the ANI of being a BJP spokesperson.
The spokesperson, wishing to remain anonymous, had said, “The chief minister had addressed a massive rally in Lucknow earlier this week. The response to his rally in Bhopal too was tremendous. But the ANI simply refused to not broadcast the event live. This is a marked departure from its past, when the agency would send a reporter with live broadcast facility.”
When asked if it was a case of ANI making the visuals available and channels not running it, the spokesperson said that ‘no the ANI is simply not sending its cameraman where it knows that channels have not sent their OB vans.’
However, when contacted, the ANI chief, Smita Prakash, told Janta Ka Reporter that there was no truth to this ‘rumour.’
She said, “Not true at all. I don’t know who’s spreading this rumour.’
Kejriwal on 15 December shared a journalist’s tweet alleging that the ANI had ‘shamelessly become BJP spokespersons.’