No intention to gag media, says Manish

Newly appointed Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tiwari on Monday made it clear that his ministry had no intention to regulate media but to create a level-playing field for all stakeholders.

"I think, at the end of the day, this ministry or given the nature of the medium, we don't really have a regulatory remit. We have a remit which is essentially to see that the ground rules are properly laid out. Everybody has a level playing field to play on, so that there is no let or favour," he told reporters, after taking charge of his new office.

Another remit of the ministry was to see that the policies and programmes of the UPA government get disseminated, he added.
On his first day in the new office, former Congress spokesperson, however, chose not to speak on political issues.

When his comments were sought on India Against Corruption leader Arvind Kejriwal’s allegation that corrupt had been rewarded in the reshuffle, he said: “In so far as the gentleman in question that you referred to, I do not want to start my first day in office on a very adversarial note but I think it will suffice to say my view on this particular subject and the approach that they adopt is very well known to all of you.”

Tiwari also parried a question about the upcoming reshuffle in the Congress party, saying this question was only in the domain of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Tiwari also evaded a direct reply when asked to comment on the reports about some party leaders being unhappy with the reshuffle. “In so far as the question is concerned, that is above my pay grade because the contours of Cabinet reshuffle are something which falls squarely within the remit of the Congress president and the prime minister,” he said.

Paid news

On the issue of paid news, Tiwari said any move to put check on such practice required building of consensus among all the stakeholders.

“I have myself contested elections twice and I am aware of the seriousness of the problem. It has been our belief since the beginning that progress on such sensitive issues can only happen if a consensus is build and an agenda is created. So, the effort will be to reach a conclusion after talking to all and then move ahead,” he said.

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