PATNA: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today declined to comment on Press Council Chairman Justice Markandey Katju's statement that the press did not enjoy freedom in the state and was harassed if they wrote against the government.
"I am not required to offer any comment," Kumar told reporters on the sidelines of the 87th foundation day of the Patna Medical College Hospital here.
However, Health Minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey, who was also present said, "Press enjoys full freedom in Bihar".
"We will congratulate Katjusaheb if he sees only the issue of freedom of press instead of finding out what is happening in Bihar and the steps taken by Nitish Kumar for development with justice in the state," he said.
After slamming Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan over attacks on journalists in the state, Katju had yesterday targeted the Bihar government alleging the media in the state was harassed if it wrote against the government.
Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, however, was more vocal saying that Katju should avoid such remarks and join politics instead.
"Katju has made uncalled for remarks to hog the media headlines...It is improper on the part of a person holding such a high constitutional post," Modi told reporters.
"Katju is in the habit of making such uncalled, unwarranted (remarks)...He should join into active politics instead of making such remarks," Modi said.
Stating that the government respected the press, he said, "Making comments casually is not proper...Mediamen know what is the fact and the fact remains that there is absolute freedom to press in Bihar."