During an interaction with journalists, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee claimed that local newspapers can get more ads if they publish more “positive news” about the government.
This came in response to a local journalist telling Banerjee that their rural newspaper doesn’t get a lot of advertising.
“If you were to publish more positive news about things that the government is doing, then I’ll tell the DM personally to give you guys more ads,” Banerjee replied in Bangla.
Mamata Didi openly saying that to get govt advertisement in a local newspaper one has to publish "positive news" of the government and send one copy of newspaper everyday to local DM office for proof. This should be condemned by every right thinking person. pic.twitter.com/p4ymWXdTzo
Newslaundry could not verify when this interaction took place, though a on it was tweeted on November 22.
She further claimed that the government doesn’t always use its own machinery to publicise its good deeds and work.
“This event, TV media will show it once and abandon but rural newspapers will help reach it every nook and corner,” she said.
“Send a copy of the newspaper to the district magistrate’s office to assess whether you are publishing positive or negative news,” she told the reporter, saying she would then make sure the media house gets more ads.
Banerjee then suggested that local newspapers have a “meeting of sorts” to showcase the positive development work undertaken by the government, and then receive ads in return.
Adding that Bengal is regularly shown in a negative light, she said more positive coverage is needed by the media.
Of course, the scramble for government ads isn’t new. Newspapers that criticise governments , others have out of disguising ads as news.
You know where we’re going with this. Until you pay to keep news free, the news will only serve advertisers – both government and corporate. .