Accusing the media of being "sold out," Arvind Kejriwal has threatened to send media people to jail after an inquiry into the issue if the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) comes to power. "The whole media is sold out this time, it is a big conspiracy, it is a huge political controversy. If our government comes to power, then we will set up an inquiry into this. And along with the media people, all will be sent to jail," Kejriwal allegedly said. In a video aired by a TV channel, he alleged that "heavy amounts" have been paid to promote BJP's prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi.
Kejriwal later denied having made the accusations against the media after the video went viral and his remarks came under attack from Congress, BJP and CPI. "I didn't say that. I didn't say anything. How can I be upset with you (media)," said Kejriwal.
AAP on Friday defended Kejriwal and instead said that news channels should reveal the number of advertisements they have received from Modi and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. AAP leaders said that some news channels have been after Kejriwal and are showcasing "paid news". "There have been reports of Kejriwal saying that the media should be sent to jail. Media is the fourth estate of the nation. If people raise questions on every other organization in the country, the media should also be answerable if it is found to be guilty," said AAP's senior leader Sanjay Singh while addressing a conference here."
Arvind Kejriwal has said that a section of media was implementing the agenda of Modi and BJP. His comments were directed against them. His comments were against those who distort news and resort to paid news."
AAP leaders also named four news channels who they said were unnecessarily targeting them. They said they would approach the Election Commission over the issue with relevant proofs. Until evening, AAP did not reveal any information about the said proofs.
Sitting next to Singh, party spokesperson and former news channel editor Ashutosh said that a news channel had conducted a sting operation, showing agencies conducting opinion polls were willing to tweak findings for money. "News channels didn't show that sting … also no action has been taken against those opinion poll agencies as yet," said Ashutosh, who is contesting against Congress' Kapil Sibal from the Chandni Chowk seat. AAP and Kejriwal's remarks came under heavy criticism from political rivals. BJP's Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Kejriwal's statements on media exposes his doublespeak. He said that media made AAP a hero and now the same AAP is abusing them.
The Congress criticised Kejriwal's remarks on jailing media bosses. "Both the BJP and AAP use unparliamentary language … this issue is between them. But it is media's responsibility to do balanced reporting and show things in unbiased manner," said leader Anand Sarma. The Broadcast Editors Association issued a statement denying Kejriwal's statements. "It is wrong to say that TV channels are pursuing a biased agenda in favour of any person or party," the association said.
It said that news channels operate in a free and fair manner and said it had strong faith in the self-regulatory mechanisms that it had in place. The association said that "vague and sweeping allegations are a sign of weakness".