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CM's office accused of curbing media freedom

Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat's office has been accused of interfering with media freedom by a newspaper editor.

india Updated: Jun 18, 2010 11:58 IST

Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat's office has been accused of interfering with media freedom by a newspaper editor.

Prabhakar Dhage, resident editor of Marathi daily Pudhari, told IANS that Suresh Walve, media advisor to the chief minister, pressurised him not to publish those letters to the editor which were critical of Kamat.

"Walve called me on Tuesday, asking me to consider 'the pros and cons' of publishing letters which are critical of the chief minister in the letters to the editor column," said Dhage, whose newspaper is known for its acerbic style and voluble criticism of the state government.

"He did not directly ask me not to carry such content. It was an indirect threat. This is surely pressure on the media," he said.

Walve, who once served as an editor of a local newspaper, admitted that he had called up several editors but said it wasn't meant to pressurise.

"I did not tell anyone not to publish anything. I only requested them to personally verify the contents in the letters to the editor section. Sometimes subordinates (in newspaper offices) publish anything," he said.

According to Dhage, the constant gaffes and scandals of the Congress-led government has left the chief minister exposed and worried.

"The government is being constantly exposed in the media. Kamat himself has been exposed so very often on issues like illegal mining, excise scam, and so on. He is really, really scared," he said.