Amaravati: Amidst the flak from the journalist fraternity over the state cabinet’s decision to empower secretaries to sue media houses for defamatory comments, the Jagan-led government went ahead passing the GO regarding the same. Issued by T Vijay Kumar Reddy, Commissioner of AP I & PR on Wednesday, the GO delegated powers to the bureaucrats to sue media houses for ‘defamatory, baseless and false’ reports. This implies to print, electronic and social media also.
Into details, with this G.O. RTNo.2430, the government accorded to delegate powers to the secretaries of respective departments to issue rejoinders, file complaints and lodge appropriate cases, if need be, through public prosecutor against defamatory news items published/telecast/posted in print/electronic/social media pertaining to their respective departments after following due process of law. Various Opposition leaders and bureaucrats took to the social media to oppress the GO. TDP chief Nara Chandrababu Naidu and actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan voice their views on Twitter. With all the criticism coming from journalists’ unions, civil society organisations and opposition parties, the government started defending the move claiming to uphold the democratic norms.
This is not the first time a government in Andhra hurdled the media with GOs, in 2007 the then Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy announced the same sort of G.O 938 which gave the government the powers to file cases against media houses or a person. After it received a lot of resistance from various fraternities the government didn’t implement it.