“Don't be afraid, be brave.”
This was Mamata Banerjee’s message to the media at the India Today Conclave East 2021 on Thursday. Speaking with India Today news director Rahul Kunwal, the Bengal chief minister accused the media house of muzzling its prominent anchor Rajdeep Sardesai.
Reminding the media of its role in a democracy, she said, “If the media isn’t powerful in the country then who is going to talk about the common people? If the media isn't powerful in the country then who is going to speak up about injustice? Media and judiciary are very important in a democratic setup. I will stand by the media and help them so that they can fight for truth.”
Referring to the state of Indian media today, she added, “If I ask you today how many people died in the Delhi riots in February, will you be able to tell me the exact number? Does anyone know here? Even I don't know. There is no information! All information is missing except the agency information. What do we do? This is why it is important for you, the media, to go forward. Media is more powerful than the government.”
“During the emergency with Indira Gandhi, the media played a very important role. If the government tries to stop you, the whole country will come out and support you. Every section of the country will be with you. Don't care and dont be afraid. Be brave.”