Journalists withdraw ''boycott'' after Pawar offers apology

Written by: Pti
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Mumbai, Feb 11 (PTI) Within hours of Union Minister SharadPawar saying he had no qualms about tendering a public apologyif his nephew and Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawarhad used abusive language against scribes, journalists todayannounced they were withdrawing their agitation.

Since Saturday, media in Maharashtra has been atloggerheads with Ajit Pawar for his remarks and there is anongoing agitation by scribes, which includes non-coverage ofhis functions and those of Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.

"I have been reading about it (the controversy) innewspapers and as the chief of NCP, I won''t mind tendering apublic apology if any derogatory language has been used,"Pawar told reporters at Kolhapur in western Maharashtra.

Soon after, at a meeting of the Patrakar Halla VirodhiSamiti, which spearheaded the agitation, it was decided to endthe boycott. The Samiti, however, announced that journalistswould stage protests in the state on February 15 to demandimmediate enactment of a law on attacks on media.

Denying that he ever made comments about ''stifling'' themedia during a function in Nanded district on Saturday, AjitPawar recently told the Chief Minister that he will not acceptthe blame for what he did not say.

"I have been quoted as saying that journalists should bethrashed. There is no question of accepting what I have notsaid, in the first place," Ajit Pawar had said in a writtenexplanation to the Chief Minister.

On Wednesday, journalists from print and electronic mediaboycotted the post-cabinet press briefing scheduled to beaddressed by the Chief Minister, to protest Ajit Pawar''sremarks against them.

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