US President Donald Trump usually scolds journalists at the White House when they ask him uncomfortable questions or when he cannot bear the presence of certain media houses. Instead of answering questions, he dismissively calls them “nasty” and “silly”. The same kind of attitude and temper is now being witnessed at Telangana’s Pragathi Bhawan when Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao meets the media personnel these days.
On 18 May, KCR held a press conference in his home at 8 pm. When a journalist asked him about the ongoing Krishna river water dispute with Andhra Pradesh, the CM warned him not to ask this question. “How dare you question,” the CM thundered as he warned him to be careful in future.
Earlier in March 2020, the CM had also blasted the media personnel when they asked about shortage of masks and sanitizers in the state. He questioned the credential of the newspaper and the journalistic values of the reporter, instead of focusing on problems at hand. On 11 September 2014, KCR had infamously threatened to “bury” the media “10 km under the earth”.
He had said, “If anybody tries to denigrate or hurt the selfrespect of Telangana, Telangana Assembly, Telangana culture… we will break their necks. Be careful.” Usually, KCR doesn’t like press meets, but due to Covid-19, he holds meetings and expects no tough questions. Recently, he warned to take action against media personnel if any false news were reported.
Senior journalist Anka Babu, who headed Eenadu (largest-circulated Telugu daily) bureau for a long time, told The Daily Guardian, “No doubt, KCR is a crusader who fought for a separate state of Telangana. Until he became the CM, he was friendly with journalists. That is why the media supported him. He announced triple-bedroom houses for journalists; but after becoming CM, he started taking journalists in a light manner and usually abuses them. He is knowledgeable but his behaviour is not acceptable.”
When The Daily Guardian contacted Krishna Sagar Rao, official BJP spokesperson in the state, he said, “KCR has failed on many fronts, that is why he is scolding whoever questions him. The BJP understands his frustration.” In recent times, journalists have been banned from entering the Telangana Secretariat. The journalists, who cover the Secretariat affairs, met Chief Secretary S.K. Joshi and lodged their complain. They also submitted a memorandum to him. The Chief Secretary informed them that it was a decision taken by the higher authority. He even advised the media personnel to gather information from the PROs.