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Against the backdrop of attack on media by Arvind Kejriwal and former army chief Gen VK Singh, the Editors Guild of India on Monday objected to "unsubstantiated charges" levelled by public figures dissatisfied with the coverage of their activities or with criticism.
The Guild appealed to political leaders and public figures not to resort to "vague, unsubstantiated charges of corrupt motives and abuses when refuting, questioning or criticising the media and keep the public discourse civil and within reasonsable bounds."
In a statement in New Delhi, the Guild said it is "distressing" to find a person like Gen VK Singh using the term 'presstitutes' to describe journalists who wrote a story on the movement of army units causing concern to the government.
The remarks are "unbecoming of a former chief of the Indian Army," the statement said.
"It is equally disquieting to find Arvind Kejriwal attributing corrupt motives to the media that were critical of him and charging media with being pressured into ignoring him without coming up with specific details or material to substantiate such charges," the Editors Guild said.
Kejriwal, leader of Aam Aadmi Party and former Delhi chief minister, had targeted the media yesterday during a rally in Rohtak in Haryana.
"The tendency to attack or abuse the media is not restricted to the newer players and leaders of established parties are not immune to it either," the Guild said.
"Ironically, leaders who built up reputations and support by engaging the public through the media are now turning on the very media when they come under critical scrutiny," it added.
The Editors Guild said the media that question and criticise political leaders and indeed every section of society should be open to criticism, even if it is harsh, of its functioning and to its flaws being exposed.
"The problem arises, however, when abuse and vague, unsubstantiated accusations of corrupt motives take the place of reasoned refutation and debate," it said.