Kerala :Freedom of Press
The media and pseudo-intellectuals conveniently keep mum after media persons and media houses came under persistent attack of Communists and Jihadists
CPM has been accusing RSS-BJP duo of suppressing right to expression as part of their larger fascist agenda. But, the party has proved umpteen times that they are preachers, not practitioners. They proved it in Kozhikode, Kerala, once again on March 21 during a public meeting addressed by the party supremo Pinarayi Vijayan. This time it was Asianet crew members who tasted the beating up by CPM cadres in the late evening. Asianet reporter CV Anumod and cameraman Aravind told media that as soon as Pinarayi’s speech was over they were taken out from the venue and beaten up by the party cadres brutally. They have sustained injuries in head and neck. Interestingly no other electronic media came forward to condemn the attack. Asianet is the pioneer in the Malayalam channel industry; it is about 25 years old. The crew members said, they were beaten up for videographing empty chairs in the CPM meeting.
People cannot help laughing when they came across the plight Asianet has been pushed into. Because, the attackers as well as the attacked belong to a single group who has been blaming RSS and associated organisations, PM Modi, etc. for denying the right to expression of the common people, dissent, and the media. JNU and Hyderabad University were their chosen ammunitions for this selective attack. Last month the very Asianet’s senior staff Sindhu Sooryakumar made a derogatory comment about nationalist forces in connection with the fantastic Lok Sabha speech of Hon. HRD Minister Smt Smriti Irani. Smt Irani had tabled the copy of the JNU’s left students’ pamphlet picturing Goddess Durga as a sex worker; she also asked if CPM would permit the distribution of such a pamphlet in West Bengal.
But, Sindhu, during a chat show she hosted, reportedly wondered what was wrong if Durga is depicted as a sex worker. Naturally her remarks stirred a hornets’ nests in the state. All Malayalam joined the chorus to eulogise Sindhu and condemn RSS and BJP. When a flood of calls reached Asianet office protesting against Sindhu’s remarks it was like insult to the injury. Based on her complaints, the police arrested some RSS-BJP workers even without checking the voice records of the calls.
Another incident of the recent past was pertaining to “Mathrubhumi” daily, the newspaper founded in 1922 as a part of the freedom struggle. The newspaper apologized for reproducing an FB post with “so-called” ‘offensive’ comments about the Prophet. The FB comment was a reaction to the High Court Judge Kemal Pasha’s observations of polygamy among Muslims and also Muslim Personal Law. The next day, the city pages of the Thrissur and Kozhikode editions of Mathrubhumi carried an FB post responding to the judge which
criticized the Prophet, without
naming him, for “marrying six-year-old Aisha.”
The post attracted the wrath of all sorts of pseudo secularists from CPM to Congress to Islamic communalists like PDP, PFI, SDPI, etc. etc. There were large scale protests in the form of burning the Mathrubhumi copies in public. Muslim outfits of all colours or banners and flags filled their wayside news boards with open call to boycott the news daily. All pseudo intellectuals joined the protestors.
It was reported that the newspaper lost a chunk of its circulation. As the management felt the heat, they immediately carried an unconditional apology for the post. Channels celebrated the “event” with live chat shows and debates, all in support of the apology! But, when CPM cadres “taught Asianet a lesson,” there were no debates, chat shows, print media editorials or pseudo-intellectuals outburst!