‘Is Kerala another country?’ Journalists condemn detention of Kerala reporters by Mangaluru police in letter to Karnataka CM

ByNL Team
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More than 70 journalists, researchers and activists have written a letter to Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, condemning the detention of journalists from Kerala by the Mangaluru police on Friday. 

“The action of the Mangaluru police is shocking,” the letter reads. “Do the police think that Kerala is in another country? Do the police in Karnataka believe that identity cards issued by the Kerala government are not valid anywhere else?”

 At least seven TV journalists from Kerala who had gone to Mangaluru to cover the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act were detained by the police for around seven hours, and “treated like criminals”, The Telegraph reported. They were released only after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to Yediyurappa, expressing “deep concern” over the police’s action and urging him to intervene. 

Mangaluru is under lockdown since two protesters were killed in police firing on Thursday. 

Here’s the journalists’ letter to Yediyurappa in full:

To 

The Chief Minister of Karnataka

Sir, 

We, the undersigned journalists, strongly condemn the Mangaluru police debarring journalists from Kerala from covering protests in the city and ‘banishing’ them across the border on December 20, 2019. 

At least seven journalists were actually transported by bus from the Mangalore-Kerala border and dropped off near Thalappady in Kerala at around 3.45 pm on Friday, December 20, 2019. The journalists were detained by the Karnataka Police in Mangaluru for over four hours and handed over to the police at around the Kerala-Karnataka border as if they were criminals. 

On Friday morning, journalists from major Malayalam channels had reached Mangaluru to report on the follow-up of the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest in the town. They had assembled at the hospital where the postmortem of two men killed in police firing was being done. Initially, they were asked to leave the premises but were later taken into custody under the pretext of verification. Though they produced their staff identity cards and accreditation cards, they were told these were not acceptable as the government of Kerala had issued the accreditation.

The action of the Mangaluru police is shocking. Do the police think that Kerala is in another country? Do the police in Karnataka believe that identity cards issued by the Kerala government are not valid anywhere else? 

The action of the Karnataka police in creating a false barrier for journalists from a neighbouring state is highly divisive and dangerous, apart from being an illegal and unconstitutional act. This action by the police is a direct assault on the freedom of the media to report on events. Journalists perform an important duty in monitoring and reporting on issues and events and we strongly resist any attempt to intimidate or bar them from doing so. It will be necessary to point out that when accredited journalists from Karnataka go to Kerala, the Karnataka government accreditation is accepted and journalists are allowed to report from Kerala. This applies to non-accredited journalists too, and they too are allowed to report. So, it does not lie in the hands of the police to remove Kerala journalists as they did yesterday.

Please institute an immediate inquiry into this patently illegal act and instruct the police in Karnataka to desist from such practices forthwith. Please ensure that journalists from all parts of the Gitacountry have the freedom of access during their reportage of events.

BS Arun, Deputy Editor, Deccan Herald, Bengaluru

KM Rakesh, Associate Editor, The Telegraph, Bengaluru

Sugata Srinivasaraju, Independent Journalist and former Editorial Director, Asianet News Network

Naheed Ataulla, Freelance Journalist and former Political Editor, The Times of India, Bengaluru

Pooja Prasanna, Bureau Chief, South, Republic TV

Dhanya Rajendran, Editor, The News Minute, Bengaluru

Rohini Mohan, Independent Journalist, Bengaluru

Vandana Mohandas, Independent Journalist, Kochi

Ullekh NP, Executive Editor, Open magazine, New Delhi

Yamini Nair, Deputy Associate Editor, The Indian Express, New Delhi

Shahina KK, Open magazine

Gita Bakshi, Managing Editor, Nostalgia group of publications

Archana Ravi, Independent Journalist, Thiruvananthapuram

Geeta Seshu, Independent Journalist and Co-founder, Free Speech Collective, Mumbai

Laxmi Murthy, Independent Journalist and Co-founder, Free Speech Collective, Bengaluru

Gita Aravamudan, Independent Journalist, Bengaluru

Shoba Narayan, Freelance Journalist, Bengaluru

J M Siyad, Freelance Journalist, Thiruvananthapuram

Biju Muthathi, Kairali TV, Thiruvananthapuram

Tara Krishnaswamy, Citizen Activist, Bengaluru

Bageshree, Journalist, Bengaluru

Sravan Krishna, Senior Reporter, Asianet News, Bengaluru 

N B Hombal, Senior Correspondent, Deccan Chronicle, Bengaluru

Chithira V, Independent Journalist, Kerala

Sudheesh Sudhakaran, Associate Editor, Evartha, Kerala

Anoop Das K, Reporter, Mathrubhumi News, Chennai

Giridhar Narayan, Journalist, Bengaluru

Vinu V John, Senior Coordinating Editor, Asianet News

R Sumesh, Reporter, Kerala Kaumudi

Adv Syam Devaraj, Research Scholar in Media Law, University of Kerala

Shobha S V, Independent Media Researcher, Bengaluru 

Lekshmi Padma, Senior Broadcast Journalist, Asianet News

Mujahid Deputy, Reporter, Deccan Chronicle, Bengaluru

Sheethal J Raj, Chief Broadcast Journalist, Asianet News

Sahal C Muhammad, Senior Reporter, Asianet News, Kannur

Akhila Premachandran, Chief Broadcast Journalist, Asianet News

Sujaya Parvathy S, Chief Broadcast Journalist, Asianet News

M Shabbir Ahmed, Journalist, Chennai

Ramkumar, Journalist, Evartha  

Jinu M Narayanan, Staff Correspondent, Madhyamam, Bengaluru

Suhail Ahemmed, Journalist, Asianet News

Vinod C, Mathrubhumi News 

Rajani Varrier, Journalist, Asianet News, Kerala

Prince P Pappachen, Journalist, Asianet News 

Linda F D’cruz, Independent Journalist, Thiruvananthapuram

Dilna Madhu, Senior Sub Editor, Mathrubhumi News, Thiruvananthapuram 

Yasir Arafath, Nishabdam Online News

Manu P Toms, Senior Editor, Economic Times Prime

Mattanur Surendran, Correspondent, Madhyamam, Kannur

Syam Kumar AA, Chief Reporter, Asianet News, Pathanamthitta

Jiby J Kattakayam, Assistant Editor, The Times of India, New Delhi

Meena Menon, Independent Journalist and Author

Jatin Gandhi, Journalist, Author and Academic

UP Santhosh, Chief Sub Editor, Janmabhumi Daily, Kerala

Basanth P, Regional Editor, Mathrubhumi News

Jyoti Punwani, Freelance Journalist, Mumbai

Anjali Mody, Freelance Journalist, New Delhi.

P Sunderarajan, formerly with The Hindu, New Delhi

Sridevi Sunderarajan, Communications Specialist, New Delhi

AK Haris, Bureau Chief, Madhyamam, Kannur; President, Kannur Press Club

Deepa V,  Assistant News Editor, The New Indian Express, Kochi

Adinarayana, Formerly with Enaadu, Bengaluru

Febin K Mansoor, Chief Sub Editor, 24 News

Kay Benedict, Independent Journalist

Ranjitha Gunasekaran, Assistant Resident Editor, The New Indian Express

Sabina Padman, Reporter, Janayugom, Kannur

Revathi Rajeevan, journalist, Bengaluru

Priya Elavally Madom, Chief Reporter, Asianet News,

Vipin Muraleedharan, Cameraman, Asianet News,

Indulekha Aravind, Senior Assistant Editor, The Economic Times, Bengaluru

Kiran HV, General Secretary, Press Club Bengaluru

Teesta Setalvad, co-editor, Sabrang India

Anant Bagaitkar, Sakal Media Group, Secretary General, Press Club of India

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