Kerala journalists conduct protest march towards Governor’s House

Thiruvananthapuram, November 08 (KMS): Journalists in the Indian state of Kerala held a protest march, today, towards Governor’s House in the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram.

ٹhe march was aimed at registering protest against the Governor, Arif Mohammad Khan, for barring reporters from two Malayalam channels MediaOne and Kairali to leave a media briefing, yesterday.

Kairali TV is backed by the ruling Communist Party of India Marxist (CPI-M). MediaOne, operated by Madhyamam Broadcasting Ltd and the only Muslim group-owned private satellite channel in India, was barred from transmitting by the BJP-led Indian Central government earlier this year on the pretext of “security concerns”.

Governor Arif Khan at a press conference yesterday said, “I won’t talk to anyone from Kairali…I will walk away. I hope there is no Kairali here. I hope there is no MediaOne here. Is there any MediaOne?”

“Yes, sir,” said a journalist from the channel.

“I don’t want to talk to you,” Khan said. “Get out. I won’t talk to you. And I won’t talk to Kairali. Please go away. I will not talk to MediaOne…I am clear, I am repeatedly saying since last 25 days, I will not. If you want me to go away, I will go away. I don’t want to argue on this.”

The march organized by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) ended at the Governor’s House. The march was inaugurated by the leader of the opposition and senior Congress leader V.D. Satheesan. Former state finance minister and Left leader T.M. Thomas Isaac, CITU (Centre of Indian Trade Unions) leader Anathalavattom Anandan, and Left leader and Member of Indian Parliament John Brittas were among others who participated in the protest march.

The KUWJ said it “decries all attempts on part of Kerala Raj Bhavan (Governor’s House) to interfere in the free and independent functioning of journalists and the selective denial of journalistic access”.

In a letter addressed to the Governor, the journalist body asked him to “rethink” prejudices against some media houses and ensure that the right to practice freedom of profession is enjoyed by all journalists.

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