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Shah says govt committed to press freedom, Javadekar calls for self-regulatory body

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Amit Shah
Amit Shah

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday, on the National Press Day, said that the Narendra Modi government is committed to the freedom of Press and opposed attempts to “throttle” it.

Extending his greetings, Shah tweeted: “Our media fraternity is working tirelessly towards strengthening the foundations of our great nation. The Modi government is committed to the freedom of Press and strongly oppose those who throttle it.”

The Home Minister also lauded the efforts of the media in the fight against ongoing coronavirus pandemic, mentioning that it had played a “remarkable role”.

In a message at a webinar held by the Press Council of India on the occasion, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar reiterated that “freedom of Press is the cornerstone of our democracy”, but also stressed that it is a “responsible freedom”.

He said that television media should have its own self-regulatory body, while adding that suggestions have already come to make a code of conduct holding news channel accountable. “TV media should have its own self-regulatory body. An agency headed by Justice AK Sikri has been made to regulate news channels but many of them aren’t its members. Suggestions have come in to make code of conduct holding news channel accountable,” said Javadekar.

“OTT (over the top) platforms don’t have any regulatory body neither they have self-regulation. There’s a variety of content on these platforms ranging from good to bad. The media fraternity should themselves take initiative to set an example of responsible freedom,” he added. There is no law or regulatory body that governs online content or OTT platforms. There has been a strong argument in favour of content regulation on the OTT platforms.

The government recently issued an order bringing online films, audio-visual programmes and online news and current affairs content under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

“Freedom of the press is the soul of the public system. Freedom of the press is of great importance. Presently freedom of the press is being discussed again in the country…even I had tweeted that the way press freedom is coming under attack, it is not good,” said Javadekar.

The Union Minister further stated, “What is the matter of TRP? The advertisers need a guide as to when and where they should give the advertisements to gain more traction. We never interfered in this willingly but now we have to interfere and we have also appointed a committee to eliminate the possibility of manipulation.”

November 16 is celebrated as National Press Day since the Press Council of India was established on this day in 1966.

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CPI-M to contest six seats in Tamil Nadu as part of DMK-led alliance

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Tamil Nadu [India], March 8 (ANI): The Communist Party of India-Marxist will contest six seats as part of the DMK-led alliance in Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Nadu CPI (M) general secretary Balakrishnan said that the party has been allocated six seats for the forthcoming polls in the state.
“We will work on all the 234 seats to defeat AIADKMK-BJP alliance,” he said.
Elections to the 234-member Tamil Nadu assembly will be held on April 6 and the counting of votes will take place on May 2. (ANI)

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Congress MLA rides a horse to Jharkhand assembly on Int’l Women’s Day

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Ranchi (Jharkhand) [India], March 8 (ANI): Congress MLA Amba Prasad on Monday rode a horse to the Jharkhand assembly on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Prasad said that the horse has been gifted to her by a retired Army officer.
“This horse has been gifted to me by Colonel (retired) Ravi Rathore on the occasion of International Women’s Day,” she told ANI.
The 31-year-old is a Congress MLA from the Barkagaon assembly constituency in the Ramgarh district.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended wishes on the occasion of International Women’s Day, saying that India takes pride in the many accomplishments of women.
“Saluting our indomitable #NariShakti on International Women’s Day! India takes pride in the many accomplishments of the women of our nation. It is our government’s honour to be getting the opportunity to work towards furthering women empowerment across a wide range of sectors,” PM Modi tweeted.
“On the occasion of International Women’s Day, greetings and best wishes to all fellow citizens. Women in our country are setting new records and achievements in various fields. Let us collectively resolve to promote gender justice and eliminate inequality between women and men,” President Ram Nath Kovind said in a tweet.
Each year on March 8, International Women’s Day is observed in order to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day commemorates women, who despite various challenges posed by society have proven their mettle in every sphere across the world. (ANI)

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Women-led development taking place under PM Modi’s leadership, says Smriti Irani

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New Delhi [India], March 8 (ANI): Union Textiles and Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani on Monday said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the narrative has shifted from women’s development to women-led development.
She also stated that now women not only lead change for themselves but also for other women, adding that for the first time Gender Inclusion Fund was introduced into the National Education policy.
“Under PM’s leadership, the narrative has shifted from women’s development to women-led development. We now lead change not just for us but also for other women. Because of this, for the 1st time in National Education policy’s history, we have Gender Inclusion Fund”, said the Union Minister while addressing a gathering of women MPs and journalists on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
She further said, “There are still skies to touch. Our flag and Constitution are one despite being from different political ideologies.”
“Women who have gathered here today are often celebrated societally for our strength and achievements. Not many look at the chip on our shoulders, a chip on which we falter at times publically and on social media. Where the impact is strong as we get ‘trolled’ but also we get opportunities in the August House where irrespective of our ideologies, we speak on issues that bring transformation”, added Irani.
Addressing the same event, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman on Monday said nuanced discrimination, even in language, is often accepted and not objected to, due to its subtlety. She added that language needs to be gender-sensitive and wrong language shouldn’t be encouraged.
“Language of communication has to be gender-sensitive. We stand up each time for use of the right language. We come across language both formal and informal that doesn’t recognise an implicit gender bias. We need to say language needs to be gender-sensitive. We shouldn’t encourage such language,” said Sitharaman while addressing a gathering of women MPs and journalists.
Giving an example she quoted a popular Hindi expression the Union Finance Minister said, “Arey main choodi pehen ke baitha hoon kya?” (Am I just sitting here wearing bangles like a woman?) That means you don’t have courage. Each one of us has to say that we don’t accept such language and expressions.”
Another problem she spoke about was facing different terms of engagement for both genders. “We are MPs, but we are often treated as women first, and MPs later. We have to make a conscious attempt to change these things. We need to do more,” she said.
International Women’s Day is celebrated worldwide every year on March 8 to recognise the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the globe. This year, the theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is ‘Choose to Challenge’. (ANI)

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TMC writes to LS Speaker, RS Chairman to adjourn ongoing Parliament session

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New Delhi [India], March 8 (ANI): Trinamool Congress Parliamentary Party Lok Sabha Floor Leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Leader of the TMC Parliamentary Party in Rajya Sabha Derek O’Brien on Monday wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker and Rajya Sabha Chairman respectively requesting them to adjourn the second part of the Budget session in view of the upcoming Assembly polls in four states and one Union Territory.
“Due to the intensive ongoing election preparations in the state, the Members of Parliament from All India Trinamool Congress would find it difficult to attend the second part of the Budget session beginning from March 8,” Derek O’Brien wrote in the letter.
“We (TMC) urge you to consider the adjournment of the ongoing Parliament session,” the TMC MP added.
He also cited two earlier occassions in the letter when the same had been done in view of forthcoming Assembly polls.
Earlier, Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till 11 am on Tuesday following a ruckus over fuel prices in the parliament.
Rajya Sabha on Monday witnessed repeated adjournments following sloganeering by the Opposition MPs.
“We will continue our agitation (demanding a discussion on fuel price rise) when Rajya Sabha reconvenes at 1 pm,” said Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha.
“Petrol and diesel prices are nearly Rs 100 per litre and Rs 80 per litre respectively. Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) prices have also gone up. Rs 21 lakh crores have been collected by putting excise duty/cess, because of this entire country including farmers are suffering,” Kharge had said. (ANI)

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Delhi HC extends OP Chautala’s parole till April 12

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New Delhi [India], March 8 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Monday extended the parole of former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, serving a 10-year jail term in a teachers’ recruitment scam, till April 12.
A division bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Anup Jairam Bhambhani also listed Chautala’s plea seeking directions to the authorities concerned to release him by granting special remission in view of related notification of 2020 for further hearing on April 12.
Meanwhile, the high court directed the Delhi government to file an affidavit with a relevant record in the petition filed by Chautala, seeking release by granting the benefit of special remission.
Chautala had approached the high court through his lawyer Amit Sahni submitting that the state should have released him considering his age and disability and that his case was covered under the notification issued by the government of India, whereby prisoners with 60 years and above were to be released in half of their sentence.
The petitioner has submitted that he has almost undergone the entire incarceration and as such in view of the earlier order passed in December 2019 by the division bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, the Delhi government has not granted special remission to him.
Chautala and others were convicted and sentenced in the case of illegal recruitment of 3,206 junior basic teachers (JBT) in 2013.
On January 22, 2013, a trial court had sentenced 55 accused in the teachers’ recruitment scam case for illegally recruiting 3,206 teachers in Haryana in 2000. Others sentenced in the case include Chautala’s son Ajay Singh Chautala, his then political advisor Sher Singh Badshami, the then Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Vidya Dhar, IAS and then Primary Education Director Sanjiv Kumar. (ANI)

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Pride of Sanatan India, glow of modern India to merge in celebration of nation’s 75 years of independence: PM Modi

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New Delhi [India], March 8 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the celebration of the 75th year of independence of the country will reflect the “pride of Sanatan India and the glow of modern India”.
Speaking at the committee meeting to mark 75 years of independence, the Prime Minister said, “The 75th Independence Day will be the celebration of the spirit of freedom struggle and the reflection of the feeling of sacrifice. There should be a tribute to the martyrs of the country and a resolve to build an India of their dreams. It will have a glimpse of the pride of Sanatan India and the glow of modern India as well.”
Emphasising the need for people’s participation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “We have to celebrate this festival of 75 years of independence by taking 130 crore countrymen together. Public participation is the core spirit of this event. The country cannot progress by denying anyone’s contribution. The country goes forward by accepting and respecting everyone’s contributions and we want to follow this mantra.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi identified five agendas for the celebration.
“Freedom Struggle, Ideas at 75, Achievements at 75, Actions at 75 and Resolve at 75 — we have to move forward with these five aspects. All these should include the ideas and feelings of 130 crore people of the country,” said Prime Minister Modi.
He further said, “Today, India is doing things that could not be imagined until a few years ago. In this journey of 75 years, the country has reached here gradually. There are contributions of so many people to the country in this journey.”
“There is hardly any place or corner in the country that does not have any son or daughter who sacrificed their lives for the nation. When these sacrifices and their stories will come to light, these will be a source of great inspiration,” added PM Modi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led panel held the first meeting on the commemoration of 75 years of India’s Independence titled ‘Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav’.
India is going to celebrate its 75th Independence Day this year.
On January 31, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2021’s first Mann ki Baat had appealed to the countrymen to write about freedom fighters and stories of their struggle to mark the country’s 75th Independence Day this year. (ANI)

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