Kerala Police have lodged a case against four media individuals in connection with the recent protest held by the Bharatiya Mahila Morcha at the official residence of the State Police Chief (DGP) on December 16.
The protest staged by the Mahila Morcha was prompted by alleged prosecution failures in investigating the Vandiperiyar rape and murder case, involving the tragic death of a six-year-old girl on June 30, 2021. Arjun Sundar, purportedly a local DYFI leader, was acquitted on December 14 by the Kattappana Fast Track Special Court in Idukki district.
According to reports, the identified media persons are accused of illegal entry into the State Police Chief’s premises, wielding cameras and mobile phones during the demonstration.
There are speculations of pressure from higher authorities influencing the filing of the case. However, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan defended the legal action, stating that the police held strong convictions regarding the evidence against the media persons. He urged them to present evidence to the contrary.
Moreover, Vijayan alleged the existence of conspirators among the media fraternity. Additionally, reports emerged of police registering a case against a female journalist for reporting an incident involving a shoe being thrown at the Nava Kerala Sadas bus carrying the entire Cabinet.
The situation has raised questions as Vijayan’s political alliance previously accused the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and the Modi regime of stifling press freedom and the right to expression. Any case registered against a media entity, irrespective of the reason, is often construed as an attack on press freedom, according to both the CPM and Congress.
Even cases pertaining to issues like misappropriation of accounts are interpreted as threats to press freedom, creating a paradox in the current political landscape.