Ramesh Chennithala, the former opposition leader, has accused the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government of imposing unannounced censorship on the media. Chennithala made these remarks while inaugurating the secretariat march organized by the Kerala Journalists’ Union. The march aimed to protest against false cases filed against media workers and to raise various demands related to media freedom.
Chennithala questioned how independent journalism can thrive if cases are being filed against journalists for reporting news. He emphasized the need to allow journalists to write freely, as the media plays a vital role in holding politicians accountable and rectifying the political landscape. The press acts as a deterrent against wrongdoing, and lawsuits against the media are actions that do not align with the principles of a democratic government.
The former opposition leader criticized the government’s interference in determining what the media should write. He stressed that challenging press freedom is incompatible with a functioning democracy. Chennithala also criticized the ban on media coverage inside the assembly, stating that only providing the government’s arguments without media presence does not uphold democratic values.
Similarly, he expressed confusion over the restrictions imposed on media access to the Secretariat, questioning the logic behind treating it as a closed fortress. Chennithala supported the demands of the striking journalists and called for journalists to receive the pension amount announced in the budget. He also expressed solidarity with the journalists on strike.
BMS District Secretary Jayakumar, while addressing the gathering, highlighted the rampant attacks on journalists and the relentless pursuit of media workers for honest reporting. He emphasized that media workers play a crucial role in protecting the people from government corruption. Jayakumar assured that the BMS would stand at the forefront to safeguard the rights of media workers who strive to protect Kerala.
CP John, another speaker at the event, described reporting in Kerala as a dangerous endeavor. He emphasized the importance of journalists fearlessly reporting news, regardless of who makes a mistake, even if it is a deity rather than Pinarayi Vijayan. John asserted that newspapers are essential for holding those in power accountable and that a good leader welcomes criticism, while a ruler who cannot accept criticism is akin to a dictator. He vowed that Kerala would not be allowed to become a country ruled by a dictator.