Oppn parties, scribes condemn ‘gagging’ of press by Kerala govt
The Congress, BJP and two journalists’ bodies on Thursday condemned the ‘gagging’ of the media by the Kerala government after a senior journalist appeared before the police for questioning following a complaint lodged by CPI-M Rajya Sabha member and veteran trade union leader Elamaram Kareem.
Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress, BJP and two journalists’ bodies on Thursday condemned the ‘gagging’ of the media by the Kerala government after a senior journalist appeared before the police for questioning following a complaint lodged by CPI-M Rajya Sabha member and veteran trade union leader Elamaram Kareem.
This comes even as the CPI(M) vociferously opposes the ‘gagging’ of press freedom by the Narendra Modi Central government .
The case was filed in March 2022 by Kareem after a prime time discussion on the channel was based on a Bharath Bandh observed by various trade unions. John had criticised Kareem’s justification of violence that was unleashed on the bandh day.
Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan said that this gagging of the media is not at all acceptable.
“The CPI-M is known for its hypocritical stand in all issues. Just the other day, they were crying hoarse about the way the Centre was seen taking the BBC to task. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his party were crying foul then and see what they have done to John now. John was critical of a genuine issue. This is not at all acceptable,” said Satheesan.
State BJP president K. Surendran said that this is the way the Communists behave because they cannot fathom criticism.
“If this gagging the media policy continues, the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government will have to face massive protests,” said Surendran.
The Kerala Union of Working Journalists and the Thiruvanathapuram Press Club also condemned the police action.
John was served the notice over the incident that took place on March 28, 2022 when he was anchoring a news bulletin.
A case was filed against him on April 28 under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.
John had expressed his ire as Kerala witnessed a total bandh (shut down) in March last year with agitators taking over the streets.
Presenting his side of the story, John said that he was peeved when a patient who was being moved in an auto-rickshaw drew the ire of the protesters in north Kerala.
In the news hour debate, he made a statement that if anyone did such a thing to Kareem, what would have happened.
Soon after this incident in March, the local CITU unit put up posters at the house of John.
The posters were in the name of the CITU Peroorkada Area Committee, which gave a call for protests against John to isolate him.
A few days later, trade union workers of various political parties marched to the Asianet office to register their protest against the comments made by John.