- Rahul Gandhi had called ANI editor Smita Prakash a "pliable journalist"
- The Editors Guild of India expressed concern over words used by Mr Gandhi
- "Pliable isn't offensive,it's state of Indian journalism today": Congress
Rahul Gandhi's comment on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's New Year interview by a "pliable journalist" has fueled the latest political bust-up.
While attacking PM Modi on the Rafale jet deal at a press conference on Wednesday, the Congress president had referred to his exclusive interview to ANI editor Smita Prakash on January 1. "He (Modi) does not have the guts to come and sit in front of you. And I am coming here, you can ask me any question. You saw the prime minister's interview yesterday...matlab pliable journalist, she was asking questions and was even giving answers."
As reactions circulated on social media on Thursday, #Pliable became a trending topic.
The Editors Guild of India expressed concern over the words used by Rahul Gandhi and also noted that the labelling of journalists had emerged as a "favourite tactic" on the part of the establishment to discredit them.
Union Minister Arun Jaitley, in tweets, scoffed: "The Grandson of the Emergency dictator' displays his real DNA - attacks and intimidates an independent editor."
Then came the war of the videos.
The Congress posted a mash-up of interviews of PM Modi with the comment: "Pliable isn't offensive, it's the state of Indian journalism today."
The BJP's Amit Malviya retaliated shortly with another montage of interviews taken of Rahul Gandhi, his mother Sonia Gandhi and even other leaders like Akhilesh Yadav. Mr Malviya commented in the tweet: "Dear Rahul Gandhi, let me show you what 'pliable' means...Enjoy!"
Dear Rahul Gandhi, Let me show you what 'pliable' means... Enjoy! pic.twitter.com/9LlBsMBbvS- Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) January 3, 2019
Rahul Gandhi's comments were criticized also in a statement by the Press Club of India, Indian Women's Press Corps and Press Association which said: "Terms like "presstitute" used by a former union minister and more recently "pliable" by the president of a political party for the media are inappropriate and lower the dignity of discourse in general."