The Press Council of India (PCI) on Tuesday pulled up Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot for stopping the state government advertisements to Rashtradoot for almost three years since January 2020 for not publishing favourable news.
The PCI expressed its “extreme displeasure” about the controversial statement made by the Rajasthan Chief Minister at a press conference in Jaipur on December 16, 2019 that only those newspapers will get the government advertisements only if “they publicise and propagate government schemes with full conviction.”
The PCI took suo motu cognisance and issued a notice to the Rajasthan Government to explain Ashok Gehlot’s unwarranted comments. It also adopted on Tuesday an internal inquiry report, which said “the statement made by the chief minister that advertisements will be issued to those newspapers which will give publicity to the government schemes is a development which is likely to restrict the supply and dissemination of news of public interest and importance. If such statements are brought into action, it is likely to adversely affect the economic viability of certain newspapers to whom the advertisements may not be released because of political considerations and that will cripple their capacity to supply and disseminate news of public interest and importance.”
Statistics filed by the newspaper show that it got zero advertisement from the Directorate of Information and Public Relation (DIPR) for the first 10 months of 2020 as also for the first seven months of 2022. In 2021 too, it was given advertisements of paltry amount of 10% when the PCI issued notice to the state government for discrimination.