Guwahati: Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Friday threatened to take action against media houses for allegedly spreading "fake news" about the coronavirus situation in the state.
While speaking during the foundation stone laying ceremony for a Special Economic Zone at Sabroom, Deb claimed that some newspapers are publishing "confusing news" related to Covid-19 medical management in the state and "scaring people." The Chief Minister said that he would not forgive these media houses for allegedly reporting "fake news."
Taking affront to the Tripura Chief Minister's comments, the Forum for Protection of Media and Journalists has stated, "In the past, newspapers and journalists working in Tripura had a confrontation with the government but for the past two years, the state has tried to turn the media into a slave."
The body further went on to claim that with "several notices and orders, the freedom of the press has been infringed upon." Social media has been used to malign journalists and the chief minister's office has been involved, it alleged.
The association has also called a meeting of journalists in Agartala on Sunday. The group's chairman said that the chief minister's public threat had caused a "deep sense of insecurity". "We did not experience such an environment of insecurity even during days of Emergency," the statement read.
It is pertinent to mention here that Deb's remarks came after his administration drew flak for its alleged mismanagement of the COVID-19 crisis.
The Tripura High Court recently sought reports from the state government over measures taken to tackle the coronavirus crisis within a week or before September 18. "Recent newspaper reports particularly published in vernacular language have reported the plight of patients and relatives of those who have tested positive. Certain shortcomings in public healthcare system are projected," the Court said.
Meanwhile, the new special economic zone in Tripura is being built at an estimated cost of Rs 635 crore and will be set up at Paschim Jalefa village in Sabroom. The zone, which received approval from the commerce and industries ministry in December would focus on four sectors.