Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday made it clear that he would not stop the screening of the controversial film Padmavati in the state.
He also reiterated his commitment to providing a level playing field to all media organisations in the state.
In his inaugural address at the two-day national meet of journalists being organised by The Tribune Employees Union, Chandigarh in coordination with the Confederation of Newspaper and the News Agency Employees Organisation, the Chief Minister categorically rejected the threats against the makers of Padmavati as wrong.
He said the state governments concerned should have acted against those issuing such threats. “Such people should have been locked up,” he stressed.
“It’s a free country, with free business opportunity for all,” he said, adding it was the responsibility of the producers to ensure that history “is projected in its correct perspective.”
“While different historical perspectives can be there, any attempt to completely falsify historical facts cannot be tolerated,” he added.
This, said the Chief Minister, becomes even more necessary in the current age when children acquire knowledge through the audio-visual medium rather than by reading.
As far as Punjab was concerned, there would be no bar on the release of Padmavati as anything can be shown here as long as it does not hurt religious sentiments, he said.
Referring to the restrictions imposed on the media by the previous government in Punjab, Amarinder Singh said his government did not believe in such censorship and would immediately clear the formalities for any media organisation wishing to operate in the state.
“We want the competition to grow so people get news as they should be getting it,” he said.
The Chief Minister urged the media, with which he said he had always shared a warm relationship, to play a far more proactive role in espousing the cause of the freedom of the press for the overall development of society.
Congratulating the Confederation of Journalists Associations for bringing a large number of journalists from across the country, he assured the journalists’ unions that the state government was always open to their genuine demands.
Tribune Employees Union President Anil Gupta said the aim to organize the national summit was to understand challenges and take up the issues relating to the media with the authorities concerned.
Vaapsi, a Hindi short film on terrorism directed by Bobby Bajwa, was screened at the summit.