Parrikar snubs reporter for 'activism' at press conference

Panaji, After first publicly running down journalists for their poor education and salary, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar Wednesday snubbed a television reporter for mixing "activism" with journalism.

Parrikar, during a press conference at the state secretariat, was picking holes in two voluminous reports on the Western Ghats compiled by Padma Bhushan awardee ecologist Madhav Gadgil and renowned scientist K. Kasturirangan, and how they spell disaster for Goa, when a freelance television journalist Anil Patil, who strings for Times Now and Zee News questioned his criticism.

"You are behaving like an activist. Press conference is not a place for arguments like this. Others present here will not understand what we are saying. I will not answer your question here. We can argue separately," Parrikar said, nipping queries in the bud about why the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state government had been rubbishing the two green reports.

Parrikar also advised journalists to keep their activism aside at media briefings.

Patil had disputed Parrikar's contention that all development activity, including transportation of iron ore would have to be stopped, if existing eco sensitive zones around wildlife sanctuaries were maintained and the state government would have no powers if the reports were implemented.

Gadgil has already accused the Goa government of hiding information from the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel which he had headed and also blamed the MoEF of suppressing data in order to "facilitate the continue proliferation of polluting industries" in the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats region.

The ecologist had also accused the Goa government of colluding with the mining industry.

In March this year, Parrikar had triggered controversy by snubbing journalists in Goa on account of their low salaries and lesser education.

"What is a reporter's salary... How much does a news reader earn? Maybe 25,000 (rupees). They are mostly graduates. They are not great thinkers... intellectuals. They write news how they understand it," he had said at a public function.

The chief minister later issued a statement of regret, after his comments sparked controversy and a local journalists' union demanded an apology from him.

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