31-10-201931-10-2019 10:27:03 IST
2019-10-31T04:57:03.136Z31-10-2019 2019-10-31T04:56:59.688Z - - 09-04-2020
In what is being seen as a move to curb the freedom of expression of the media in Andhra Pradesh, the YSRCP government on Wednesday issued orders giving power to bureaucrats to sue media houses on the basis of 'defamatory and false' reports.
The orders were rolled out just two weeks after the Cabinet decided to empower the higher officials in government with a tool to counter false media reports against the government.
"The government hereby accords permission to delegate powers to the secretaries of respective departments to issue rejoinders, file complaints and lodge appropriate cases, if need be, through public prosecutor against defamatory news items published/telecast/posted in print/electronic/social media pertaining to their respective departments after following due process of law," reads the Government Order (GO) issued by T Vijay Kumar Reddy, ex-officio secretary to the government, Information and Public Relations Department.
Leader of Opposition N Chandrababu Naidu termed the move as draconian and said that the decision by the government was against the freedom of expression and meant to stifle the voice of people.
"Prodded by the YSRC Party, the Police will now be able to foist false cases to harass media institutions & people who are showcasing the many failures of the Govt. If necessary, we will take the fight to the streets until this oppressive GO is cancelled," tweeted Naidu.
The government meanwhile has said that this move will only be used as a last resort and prior intimation and notices will be given to the media houses in case they broadcast or publish false reports.
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