First Published Mar 6, 2023, 1:00 PM IST
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan supported the SFI attack on the office of Asia Net News in Kerala. A day after the SFI activists attacked the office of Asianet News and threatened the staff, there is widespread criticism of the police raiding the office of the organization in Kozhikode. The opposition in Kerala on Monday lashed out at the Pinarayi Vijayan government’s “planned moves” against Asianet News.
The opposition questioned the government on the assembly stage over the searches by the Kerala Police at the Asianet News Kozhikode office. Even as the opposition walked out of the assembly questioning the government’s intentions, CM Pinarayi Vijayan continued to defend himself by targeting Asianet News.
CM Pinarayi Vijayan responded to the questions raised by Congress MLA PC Vishnunath on the SFI protest last Friday against the news about the drug mafia.. “This incident has nothing to do with issues of press freedom. Taking legal action against a person. The commission of a criminal offense does not depend on the occupation of the person concerned. The law does not allow it. Making and broadcasting fake videos is not part of media practice. Involving a minor girl without her knowledge and claiming to protect the media is not brave journalism. Many people want such corruption not to exist in the media,” he said.
CM Pinarayi Vijayan also refused to compare the attack on Asianet News with the BBC attack. “There is no comparison. Action was taken against the BBC for highlighting the ruler’s role in the religious riots. Fake video production here?. This is not an outcry against any government or ruler. That is why there is no need to object to anyone even if they are in power. So there is no point in talking about revenge or hostile action here. “That fake news does not cause any anger,” said Pinarayi Vijayan.
“A person comes with a complaint regarding an incident.. It is personal freedom.. What should the police do when they receive a complaint.. Should they tear it up and put it in a basket saying that it is related to the media? Is it legal to do so? If the opposition was in the government, would they have done the same?” he asked. “There have been reprisals for reporting news against the government. That is not the case here. None of these moves on The Wire, NDTV, before the Adani Group takeover were projected on non-news content. This was done for giving news against the government. None of these protesters were seen that day. “The constitution does not distinguish between media workers and non-media workers,” he said.
Supporting SFI attack on Asianet News Kochi office.. “Freedom of press is not freedom to tell lies. The freedom of the readers to know the truth… it is protected by the government… it is natural to oppose the removal of morality from the freedom of the press,” said Pinarayi Vijayan.
Pinarayi Vijayan boasted that he tried to silence the Congress MLAs by giving a clean chit to the CPI(M)-strengthened SFI cadre who barged into the office of Asianet News and threatened journalists. “It is not our policy to attack media organizations that write opposing views. This is the style of Congress and BJP. Censorship during Emergency, no one forgets the arrest of people like Kuldeep Nayyar. We cannot forget to restrict the media from reporting the news on the day of declaration of emergency. Seven foreign reporters were expelled from the country.. 250 journalists were sent to jail.. Fifty-four were denied accreditation.. This is the Congress method. Anti-terrorist methods were also used against journalists. That’s your way Congress.
Both of you have attacks on press offices, jailing journalists, passing press-killing laws, taking over newspapers with their crony capitalist corporations, cutting newspapers’ newspaper quotas, and denying advertising. It is your practice to consolidate the news agencies and bring them under the Sangh Parivar and lock the press houses as well. Don’t try to make them our own. We have always fought for freedom of the press. There was no protest here after the patriotic reporter was removed from the opposition press conference. There is a double standard somewhere,” said Pinarayi Vijayan.
Further justifying the hasty police action on a complaint filed by a CPI(M)-backed MLA, he said, “The media here constantly spreads false news against the government. We are not afraid of anything. We also strongly believe that no matter how many false news and discussions are spread, people will not think wrongly about us. This is a platform where the entire country is participating in the fight against drugs.. Media, public movements and the entire public are participating. That’s it. We are very happy to air the news series, participating in the fight against the spread of narcotics. In one such series.. there were allegations of insertion of fake footage, misrepresentation of a minor and conspiracy. Complaint that own office employee’s daughter was brought in front of the camera in school uniform. What should the police do if such a thing happens? Should we judge freedom of the press without moving? Should the media remain inactive for fear of displeasure?” said Vijayan. Ironically, neither the minor nor the minor’s family claimed that the Asianet News report was fake.
Last Updated Mar 6, 2023, 1:00 PM IST