THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The UDF has come out against the government order imposing restrictions on media. Terming the move to curb the media “highly dangerous”, Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala urged the chief minister to withdraw the government order.
Chennithala told reporters here on Friday that there are no such media restrictions in other states or even in the national capital.“The order is a challenge towards media freedom. Usually, such an order won’t be issued without the knowledge of the CM. So he should urgently withdraw the order,” he said, urging the government to ensure media freedom in the state.
Senior Congress leader V M Sudheeran termed the restrictions on media ‘anti-democratic’. He said that the government’s order amounts to encroachment on the freedom of press.“In a democratic process, it’s essential to ensure transparency. Also, it’s the responsibility of the government. It’s the media’s responsibility to inform people about various issues. Imposing restrictions on this shows the government’s urge to cover things up. Why is the government afraid of transparency?” asked Sudheeran.
He further pointed out that a Left government has introduced restrictions on media freedom, a first in the state, which is “highly condemnable and strange.” He urged the government to withdraw the order restricting media freedom.
KPCC working president Kodikkunnil Suresh termed the government move a challenge towards democracy. “It’s a Fascist move and cannot be accepted. Pinarayi government has introduced the restrictions due to its intolerance towards media for reporting the corruption and harassment charges against its ministers,” he said.
The Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) has written to the CM condemning the circular imposing restrictions on journalists during public functions.In a letter, KUWJ pointed out that implementing the guidelines would impede free media in the state.
Currently, there are enough restrictions on journalists inside the Secretariat, said KUWJ. The Union urged the CM to withdraw the “unnecessary curbs” which would defeat the purpose a free media.
Remember Pinarayi’s ‘kadakk purath’ and ‘mari nilku’ rebukes?
This is not the first time journos are facing the ire of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. His ‘kadakk purath’ (get out) barb at journalists covering his ‘peace talks’ with BJP leaders, post a series of violent incidents involving CPM and BJP cadres in June last year, had grabbed headlines. The electronic media, too, was not spared. When a TV scribe tried to take his byte, Pinarayi lost his cool and asked the journo to stay away (‘mari nilku’). At the time of the honey trap episode, too, journalists were restricted from entering the Secretariat for reporting the submission of a judicial inquiry report.