Barging into media offices is “illegal” and should be considered as “an attack on press freedom”, the Press Club of India, Indian Women’s Press Corps, Delhi Union of Journalists and the Kerala Union of Working Journalists said in a joint statement. “We expect the Kerala government to take strict action against those who attacked Asianet,” they said.
A group of activists of Students’ Federation of India, the students’ arm of CPM, allegedly trespassed into the office of Malayalam news channel Asianet News in Kochi on Friday and intimidated the staff over a report about the sexual assault of a girl, according to Kerala Police.
The journalists’ bodies said Asianet News had used “a mock video” to highlight the issue of drug and sexual abuse of a young girl in Kerala. “Stamping such a programme as fake news suggests ignorance of the professional ways used by news organisations to protect the identity of victims of sexual assault. There are methods and platforms to raise complaints against any news item in a legal manner,” they said, adding that demonising media often helps vested interests.
The journalists’ bodies noted that Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan made it clear in the assembly that the police were looking into a complaint against the news report in question.
“We condemn the attempts by certain political outfits, organisations and social media influencers in Kerala to instill media phobia by labelling all news and views as fake if they disagree with it,” the journalists’ bodies said.