Kerala journalists protest after governor bars two reporters from media briefing


Journalists in Kerala held a protest march on Tuesday in opposition to Governor Arif Mohammad Khan, a day after he requested reporters from two Malayalam channels to go away a press briefing.

The kilometre-long protest march, organised by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists, ended on the Governor’s House.

On Monday, Khan had requested the reporters from Kairali News and MediaOne channels to go away his press briefing in Kochi.

“Get out. I won’t talk to you,” Khan had advised a journalist from MediaOne. “And I won’t talk to Kairali. Please go away. I will not talk to MediaOne…If you want me to go away, I will go away. I don’t want to argue on this.”

Khan had accused MediaOne of targetting him for his stand on the Shah Bano case. He additionally alleged that Kairali was airing “wrong news against him”, which the channel didn’t rectify even after the Raj Bhawan despatched many requests for corrections.

Reporters current on the briefing had advised Khan that the record of names of news channels had been accredited by the Raj Bhavan. He, nevertheless, dismissed it as an oversight.

Khan is presently locked in a tussle with the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala authorities over the appointment of vice-chancellors in state-run universities. Vijayan had alleged that Khan’s interference within the appointments point out that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh wished to saffronise the state’s universities.

On Monday, the Kerala Union of Working Journalists had termed the governor’s stand as “wrong” and had requested him to withdraw the ban on the 2 news channels, in keeping with The New Indian Express.

“This is not good for a democratic setup like ours,” stated the organisation. “There may be a difference of opinion between the state government and the governor, but the media should not be dragged into the tussle.”

Kairali News is claimed to be backed by the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist).

Meanwhile, MediaOne TV had gone off air on January 31 after the Centre suspended its telecast citing safety causes when the news channel approached the federal government for renewing its licence. The ban was suspended on March 15 by the Supreme Court.

The channel is reportedly backed by the Kerala unit of Jamaat-e-Islami, a socio-religious political organisation that was declared illegal by the Centre for 5 years in 2019.


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