The Group of Ministers (GOM) on Media, constituted by the UPA Government, met with editors of news channels on July 31, 2012. The GOM on Media includes Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni, Minister for Law Salman Khurshid, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Bansal, Health Minister Ghulam Ali and Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office V Narayan Swamy.
According to sources, representing TV news editors at the meet were CNN-IBN’s Rajdeep Sardesai, IBN Lokmat’s Ashutosh, Rajat Sharma of India TV, Sudhir Chaudhary of Zee News, NDTV’s Barkha Dutt, Anurradha Prasad of BAG Films, Sanjay Pugalia of CNBC Awaaz, and Aaj Tak’s Prabal Pratap Singh, among others.
The discussions centred on primarily three issues – the Anna Hazare movement, state of the Indian economy and announcement regarding new Leader of the House.
The GOM on Media asked for the editors’ views on the implications of Anna Hazare’s ongoing fast in the Capital. It may be recalled that a scuffle broke out between Anna’s supporters and mediapersons present at the fast venue in Jantar Mantar on the night of July 30, 2012. The Broadcast Editors’ Association (BEA) has come out strongly against the incident and demanded an apology from Team Anna. Team Anna, on the other hand, has alleged that the media has not been giving proper coverage to the indefinite fast against corruption.
Meanwhile, Anna has expressed his sadness over the entire incident, while team member Arvind Kejriwal apologised for the misbehaviour with media.
The state of the country’s economy also came up for discussions – primarily the rising prices, inflation rate, repo rate and how the common man has been hit by the price rise and how media has been covering various issues related to the economy.
The GOM on Media informed that the name of the new Leader of the House will be announced by the end of this weekend. The need for a new Leader of the House arose after Pranab Mukherjee vacated the post following his election as President of India.
It may be recalled that prior to this meet, the GOM on Media had met with TV editors on December 2011. In that meeting the TV editors issues like Lokpal Bill, FDI in retail sector and other government policies were discussed. Representing the media at that meeting were Times Now’s Arnab Goswami, NDTV’s Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai of CNN-IBN, Satish Singh of Zee News, India TV’s Rajat Sharma, Anurradha Prasad of BAG Films and Aaj Tak’s Prabal Pratap Singh.