Not even six months old and CNN-IBN is already in the news. The recent expose done by the channel on the disproportionate assets of BSP leader Mayawati has got more attention than the channel had bargained for. Some goons attacked a driver and an attendant of CNN-IBN in Lucknow on March 7 and burnt their car in an alleged fallout of the programme.
Strongly reacting to the violent incident, Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor-in-Chief, CNN-IBN, said, “We strongly condemn the incident, which took place this afternoon in Lucknow. Four people surrounded the CNN-IBN vehicle and dragged the driver and the attendant out and beat them up. They also burned the vehicle. This incident comes less than 24 hours after CNN-IBN aired a story on Mayawati’s assets, which the CBI has investigated into.”
“We demand for a full inquiry into the incident, which took place today and want a judicial probe into the matter. We are not blaming anyone. We express deep concern over the violence directed towards journalists. In the best traditions of press freedom, journalists must be allowed to perform their professional duties free from violence and intimidation. Today, it is CNN-IBN; tomorrow it could be another channel or newspaper. Media freedom is at stake, and the media needs to stand together as one,” he said.
The CNN-IBN had aired a programme where it tracked down the alleged bank accounts of Mayawati as well properties held by her and her relatives. The channel claims to have documents available with it that show that assets in the BSP chief’s name are 300 per cent more than her declared income.
Meanwhile, Mayawati has threatened to take legal action against CNN-IBN and has demanded Rs 10 crore as damages for what she insists is a ‘false report’.