Kerala Governor's barring journalists from presser draws flak, againtext_fields
Kochi: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan's barring of reporters from two Malayalam tv channels, Media One and Kairali, from his press conference in Kochi on Monday has drawn flak from a broad spectrum of political and media quarters.
In protest against the governor's act, widely seen as derogatory towards free media, another Malayalam channel, Reporter TV boycotted his presser.
At the start of his media interaction, after his arrival from Delhi and before proceeding to Thiruvananthapuram on Monday, the governor specifically asked if representatives from MediaOne and Kairali were present and then asked them to leave the premises.
Khan said that he would not like to speak to 'cadre media', and that he had not invited them to the meet. However, MediaOne later contradicted it and said they had received an email, which the channel released, containing invitation to the press meet.
This is the second time that the Governor has disallowed entry to channels, the previous one on October 24 including, in addition to MediaOne and Kairali, Janam TV and Reporter TV too.
Khan's denial of permission to the reporters has drawn widespread flak. John Birttas, Rajya Sabha MP and himself a former journalist and the managing director of Kairali TV remarked that the act smacked of the birth of an autocrat in Kerala, and the state should be ruled by elected representatives. It was totally unacceptable that mediapersons who were invited were asked to clear out and media freedom had to be protected at any cost.
Kerala Working Journalists Union demanded an apology from the Governor for the undemocratic decision saying that he was bringing dispute to the position he was holding. KUWJ president mV Vinita and General Secretary R Kiran Babu said that mediapersons would take out a Raj Bhavan march on Tuesday at 11.30 in protest. They added that the two channels' reporters had entered the premises based on invitations they received and in addition Jaihind TV, which had sent an email seeking entry was not granted the same either. The officials said that Khan was repeatedly expressing his intolerance towards criticism and anti-democratic attitude.
MV Govindan, state secretary of Communist Party -Marxist echoed it and termed that the governor's discriminatory act w-as undemocratic and said it was surprising that other journalists continued to attend the press meet despite that. If other journalists had stood together, the very media interaction would not have taken place, he added.
Kerala Congress-M Chairman Jose K Mani commented that Khan was being loyal to his masters by asking the mediapersons not toeing their line to get out of the premises.
SDPI Kerala president, Muvattupuzha Ashraf Moulavi came out strongly against the governor and said that the governor by handpicking a few journalists and denying them entry was proving himself to be undemocratic.