"Those who are trying to bring a storm in a teacup, I do not know whether they would succeed in creating this storm, but... they have sent out a message to very eminent people in media that if you are a liberal, if you ask uncomfortable questions, then you will be targeted,” Tewari said.

"And not only would you be targeted, you would be (also) vilified," he added.

If the last 10 years were to be juxtaposed with some of the developments taking place today, it would seem that fundamental media freedoms are under challenge, Tewari, said on the sidelines of an event to launch the Reference Annual, India 2014.

"If you read the tweets of some very eminent journalists ... they clearly point at intimidation, which essentially means that 'if you are not with us, then you are against us'," Tewari said without taking any names.

"The way those who ask questions over 'Chai pe Charcha', are behaved with, it raises fundamental questions of liberty in debate," he said.

“If leading media personalities state that their freedom of expression is under threat, then it is not hard to imagine as to what may happen with ordinary people,” he added.

Tewari said that the UPA government had a broad-based approach, which underpins the essence of democracy in the country.

Prime Minister’s media adviser Pankaj Pachauri and Information and Broadcasting Secretary Bimal Julka were among those present at the event.


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