State government is trying to curb press freedom: alleges West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar

In yet another unprecedented move, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has alleged that the state’s government is curbing press freedom.

In a video interview to India TV from Kolkata, the Governor said: “The leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had a long discussion with me and he complained that the state government was muzzling press freedom and slapping false cases against journalists who do not toe the government line.

“The Leader of Opposition in assembly Abdul Mannan and Left Front and BJP leaders have also met me and made similar allegations”, Dhankhar said.

“If the editor of the largest Bengali daily Ananda Bazar Patrika is summoned for questioning by police, it is surely a matter of concern for the Governor. If false cases are foisted against journalists, it is also a matter of concern for me.

“Today I met office bearers of Press Club of Calcutta and I told them: ‘freedom of speech is important, but freedom after speech is more important’. You cannot have policemen knocking at your door if your write something against the government.”

The Governor alleged that in some districts, the officials are preventing telecast of some news channels on cable networks.

A day earlier, the governor sought an interaction with the Kolkata Press Club to discuss the same.

A senior executive of the Press Club said that the governor had sought an interaction and they had agreed. “The governor seeking such an interaction is unprecedented in the history of Kolkata Press Club,” said a veteran journalist who is also an executive of the organisation.