NEW DELHI: With all the Journalist Associations of the country having decided not to respond to: the invitation of the Prime Minister for a dialogue on the defamation bill, the isolation of the government with the press has become complete.

The seven member ministerial Committee set up by the Prime Minister to evaluate the suggestions from the news media has for all practical purposed become infructuous. Far from responding positively to the proposal for a dialogue with the government on the bill, the demand from journalists, opposition parties, and other organisations and institutions in the country has intensified.

It is stated that pressure from within the ruling party to withdraw the bill is also mounting. It was decided by the senior leaders of the party to launch a signature campaign against the bill and to submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister urging him to withdraw the bill in to and drop the idea of opening a dialogue anymore.

This conclusion has been drawn by those leaders who have written to the Prime Minister a month ago to take measures to stream line the party.

However, the hawks in the Cabinet have demanded the replacement of the Director General of Doordarshan Mr. Ghosh, for not preparing the ground in favour of this Bill. They mounted pressure ‘on Mr. Bhagat, the Information and Broadcasting Minister to take immediate action on this demand. It is learnt that Mr. Bhagat immediately submitted his resignation to the Prime Minister but he was persuated by some of his sober colleagues not to press his resignation, including Mrs. Sheela Dixat.

Article extracted from this publication >> September 16, 1988