The Andhra Pradesh government hired 25 journalists on December 7 on a one-year contract “to carry out the publicity and other works as back office of hon’ble chief minister’s office”. The government order also mentioned that each journalist would be paid a monthly salary of Rs 51,468 and would cost the exchequer Rs 12,86,700 per month.
Social activists and independent minded people see this move as contradictory to the concept of independent journalism- as an extension of the paid news fiasco. The names of the journalists have not yet been disclosed.
An India spend investigation found that under the Naidu government, the number of accredited journalists had gone up to 15,000 – an unusually high number if compared to other states like Karnataka (815), Bihar (770), Punjab (450), Orissa (157), Jammu and Kashmir (81), Himachal Pradesh (76) and Goa (72).
While regular journalists are paid meager salaries (anything ranging from 10,000 to 30,000) these CM’s men will get lucrative salary of Rs.12,86,700.
So much for the relation between ruling powers and so-called ‘free media.’ The latest move by Chandrababu Naidu provoked the following comment from Prashant Bhushan, renowned lawyer and activist- “Now AP CM officially bribes 25 journos to do his PR & publicity work!”