Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday slammed the Communist Party of India-Marxist-led Kerala government in an apparent reference to the action against journalist in connection with the mark list controversy.
The former Minister of State alleged that “proceedings” are being carried out against journalists who are doing their jobs “professionally” in Kerala.
He stated that freedom of the press is indispensable to democracy and the state.
Taking to Twitter, Tharoor stated, “Disappointed to hear of proceedings against journalists doing their jobs professionally in Kerala. Freedom of the press is indispensable to our democracy and vital for our state. Government should stop such harassment.”
The Congress leader also posted a picture carrying the famous quote of French writer Voltaire, “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
Notably, the Kerala government is facing backlash after the state police booked five people including an Asianet News journalist and principal of the government-run Maharaja’s College in Ernakulam based on a complaint by student union leader PM Arsho in connection with the mark list controversy.
Kerala Police named Maharajas College, Ernakulam former coordinator Vinod Kumar, college principal VS Joy, KSU state president Alotious Xavier, Fazil C A and Asianet News reporter Akhila Nandakumar accused in the complaint filed by Students’ Federation of India (SFI) state secretary and student of Maharajas College student PM Arsho alleging conspiracy.
The case has been registered under sections 120-B, 465, 469, and 500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and 120(o) of the Kerala Police (KP) Act 2011 including criminal conspiracy, forgery and defamation.
The controversy erupted after the website of the college showed the results where PM Arsho was marked pass but the marks appeared to be zero. While Arsho claimed that he did not even register for this exam so he did not write the exam.
Initially, the principal stated that Arsho had registered for the exam but later said it was a technical error on the NIC part and many other students had such an issue. And added that Arsho’s claims were right and that he did not register for the exam.
Meanwhile, the Kerala Union of Working Journalists has opposed the case filed against the reporter in the issue and said the action against the reporter is undemocratic and encroachment towards press freedom.
Asianet News Network managing editor Manoj K Das said that the case against the reporter is a brazen violation of freedom of the press and added that they will fight this and continue practising their brand of journalism.
“Case against Akhila is a brazen violation of freedom of the press. It reveals a pattern to silence free media. Asianet News network has been under attack from government agencies for a long time. We will not sit quietly. We will fight this also and continue practising our brand of journalism straight, bold and relentless,” Manoj K Das said.
This report is filed by ANI news service.