Panaji: Journalists and the opposition parties in Goa have demanded a public apology from Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar for what they said was an attempt by him to humiliate media and browbeat it into submission.
The Goa Union of Journalists (GUJ) in a statement issued late on Monday slammed Parrikar's questioning the educational qualification and financial worth of reporters at a public function on Sunday evening.
Manohar Parrikar. File pic
"GUJ takes offence to this statement and demands a public apology for the same from the chief minister. The unwarranted and unsubstantiated comments from Parrikar are not his first when it comes to unqualified, scornful assault on the media and it's functioning in Goa," GUJ general secretary Ashley do Rosario said in a statement.
On Sunday, at a public function Parrikar said: "What is a reporter's salary...How much does a news reader earn? Maybe 25,000 (rupees). They are mostly graduates. They are not great thinkers...intellectuals. They write news how they understand it."
Parrikar also claimed that there was prevalence of paid news in the Goa and "people take money to write".
GUJ demanded that Parrikar either come clean and name and shame those journalists or newspaper organisations that he believes are indulging in paid news or hold his silence until he can prove his charges without painting all journalists with the same brush, the journalists union has said.
The opposition, both the Congress as well as the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), also criticised Parrikar for being undemocratic and making attempts to bulldoze the media.
"Does he mean to say that only those who earn more and are better educated can become good journalists? How educated are his ministers?" asked Congress spokesperson Sunil Kawthankar.
NCP state vice president Trajano D'Mello demanded that journalists should take up the battle to the chief minister, adding that the latter had no right to link efficiency at work to wages earned.
D'Mello also said that if Parrikar was aware of "paid news" he should probe the same and arrest those responsible.
"Parrikar should not discredit journalism. He should not paint all journalists with the same brush," D'Mello said.