New president of the Tamil Nadu unit of the BJP, K. Annamalai, has stirred up a row, saying the media in the State would be “brought under control within six months”. He said all the media would come under his predecessor L. Murugan, who is now Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting.
Tamil Nadu Information Technology Minister Mano Thangaraj said, “His statement is an intimidating one. It is highly condemnable.”
Mr. Annamalai issued a warning to the media while addressing party workers at Namakkal on July 14 as part of a 3-day roadshow from Coimbatore before he arrives in Chennai and takes charge. He said, “Forget about the media. Don’t worry about things like they are carrying ‘false news’ about us, what can we do… Within the next 6 months, you will see that we can bring the media under our control, take them over… you don’t worry about anything. No media can keep projecting false information continuously.”
He continued, “Former BJP State president L. Murugan is the Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting. All the media come under him. There cannot be ‘wrongs’ continuously. The media cannot continuously project false news. Such news cannot be used for politics.”
Mr. Mano Thangaraj said the media had to work independently and given the freedom to do so. “I see this [Mr. Annamalai’s remarks] as a way of coercing the media into being favourable to one party, while the media have the responsibility to uphold freedom of expression,” he said.
Mr. Annamalai, the former IPS officer of the Karnataka cadre, asked BJP workers to work hard in the next three years, keeping in mind the Lok Sabha election and for the party to go from 4 MLAs to 150 MLAs in the next Assembly election.