MK on Freebies: Everybody does it
This is what MK had to say when he launched the free Pongal scheme:
Stating that the media also ridiculed his government on the freebies through publication of caricatures and editorials, he wanted to know what was wrong in giving these gifts to the poor and the needy as the media groups also indulged in distribution of free supplements along with the main issue to the readers as a regular feature. “People and political parties also organised annadhanams in temples to feed the poor on important occasions like birthdays. Why there was no criticism on all these things,’’ he asked. (Link)
The only difference between government doling out freebies and the press is that the government engages in such publicity stunts by spending taxpayer money to capture votebanks while newspapers and magazines give free gifts and supplements out of their own money to increase readership and subscriptions. While the media owners are not answerable to the general public for giving such freebies, the government needs to justify whether such free schemes (especially the free TV) really make sense.