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Kerala High Court safeguards rights of media persons

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Ernakulam, Kerala.

Kerala High court safeguards rights of Janam reporter Resmi Karthika, cameraman Nitin Raj and Janmabhoomi photographer Anil Gopi, who reported the Mahila Morcha protest at the DGP’s residence. The court upheld the media persons’ apprehension that they may be arrested if they appear for questioning. The court also pointed out that they are entitled to interim bail.

The museum police had called all three media persons for questioning in connection with the case. The critical intervention of the High Court was in the petition filed by media persons through Adv. V. Sajith Kumar stating that if they appear for questioning, there is a possibility that they might get arrested.

Directing them to appear for questioning before the investigating officers within a week, Justice CS Dias ordered that if arrest becomes necessary, they may be arrested but released on bail immediately. The protection extended to the media persons charged in the case, is for three weeks. The prosecution argued that they are not the accused in the case and that they have only been given a notice for questioning.

The Mahila Morcha, protest marched to the DGP’s official residence against the police lapses that led to the release of DYFI leader Arjun in the POCSO case in Vandiperiyar. Janam TV had aired a video of the Mahila Morcha activists who were protesting being removed by the police. Police atrocities on the protesters were very clearly seen in the video.

Notices were issued to Janam TV reporter Reshmi Karthika, cameraman Nithin Raj, and Janmabhumi photographer Anil Gopi, instructing them to appear for questioning at the Museum Police station in Thiruvananthapuram. The Museum Police had registered a case under IPC 143, 147, 332, 353, 149, 447, and 120 B, charging serious offenses including conspiracy, unlawful assembly, trespassing, obstructing police duty, and attempting to incite a riot.

The KUWJ and Trivandrum Press Club unions expressed their discontent over the situation.

In their protest notice, the Trivandrum Press Club highlighted that this action represents a form of dictatorship by the state government, suppressing news by attacking or arresting journalists. They emphasized a journalist’s duty to report wherever an incident occurs. This is unfair for a democratic state.

The KUWJ strongly emphasized that the action against the journalists aims to conceal the police department’s inability to manage the protest. On December 16, citing the police’s failure to investigate the Vandiperiyar rape case, BJP’s Mahila Morcha activists staged a protest at DGP Sheikh Darvesh Sahib’s residence in Thiruvananthapuram. The police department is encroaching on media freedom and misusing police power is unjust in a democratic country.

Both unions urged the Kerala state government to take action regarding the issue of police exerting control over journalists.

Courtesy – JanamTV



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