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Tharoor, Dubey again at loggerheads after Congress MP questions companies advertising on ‘toxic’ channels


NEW DELHI: A fresh slugfest erupted between the chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on Information and Technology, Shashi Tharoor, and its BJP member Nishikant Dubey after the Congress MP’s remarks questioning the action of “reputable” companies in giving advertisements to “toxic” news channels.

Reacting sharply, Dubey has written to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla alleging that Tharoor has misused the platform of the Standing Committee.

In a series of tweets, Tharoor said, “Should such reputable companies be financing hate through ads on Repulsive TV? ”

He went on to name a number of companies from diverse sectors like telecom, health and automobile.

“Can they find the moral courage to be like Parle?” Tharoor said.

He was apparently referring to a media report which quoted a senior Parle official as saying that the company will not advertise on news channels that “broadcast toxic content”.

Emphasising that corporates should have the same moral and social duties as individuals, Tharoor said that they too should abjure hate and communalism, and not incite one community against another.

Mentioning the names of many other companies, Tharoor said, “They fund the toxicity, the hatred and bigotry, which our news channels spew 24×7.”

Objecting to Tharoor’s tweets as he is the chairman of the panel looking into the issues related to TRP ratings of news channels, BJP MP Dubey accused him of misusing the standing committee platform and violating the Lok Sabha Speaker’s advisory with his “Catch the Media Attention” campaign.

In his letter to Speaker Om Birla, he said that “it is also an abject display of truant behaviour on the part of Dr. Tharoor to abusively call” a TV channel and also make “unsubstantiated insinuations and rant against various reputable companies.”

Openly discussing various aspects, which are under examination of the parliamentary panel, “is an affront” to the Speakers’ pious advisory of refraining from such acts, Dubey said.

“Tharoor has now become incorrigible. I, being a public representative for the third consecutive time, feel pained and, therefore, to request your good self to kindly consider nominating me to some other Committee,” he said.

Under the chairmanship of Tharoor, the parliamentary panel has recently called officials of the central government on the issue of TRP.

In August this year, Dubey had sought removal of Tharoor as the chairman of the parliamentary panel after the Congress MP from Kerala tweeted on taking up the issue of suspension of internet services in Jammu and Kashmir and calling Facebook officials over alleged misuse of the social media platform.

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