‘To cover protests is no crime’: Editors Guild condemns Kerala police’s FIR against journalist

‘A reporter’s presence at a protest site does not make him or her complicit.’

WrittenBy:NL Team
Date:
Pinarayi Vijayan.
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The Editors Guild of India said yesterday it was “deeply disturbed” by the registration of an FIR against a Kerala journalist for reporting on a students’ protest.

VG Vineetha, a journalist with news channel 24 News, had been reporting on a protest against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on December 10. During the protest by the Kerala Students’ Union, a student wing of the Congress, shoes were allegedly thrown at the vehicle in which Vijayan was travelling.

According to The News Minute, the Kuruppampady police registered an FIR against four people associated with the union. Subsequently, Vineetha was named as the fifth accused. Her employer said she was charged with criminal conspiracy as police sources “allege that Vineetha had been in constant communication with a few KSU workers, suggesting that she was aware of the planned protest”.

TNM quoted Vijayan as telling the media to “prove” there was no conspiracy. “I don’t distrust this case,” he said.

The guild said it “deplores in the strongest words the police action against the reporter”.

“To cover protests is a media responsibility and is no crime,” its statement said. “A reporter’s presence at a protest site does not make him or her complicit in any untoward incident that may have occurred.”

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The guild urged the Kerala government to “desist from punishing the reporter”. “It would do well to instruct the police to withdraw the charges against the reporter, and uphold norms of press freedom.”

The Kerala Union of Working Journalists had also demanded the police withdraw the case, calling it an “invasion on media freedom and denial of natural justice”.

But there’s been an escalation of friction between the CPIM government in Kerala and sections of the media. There’s never been any love lost, but the relationship between state and media has now reached new lows. Read all about it here.

Also see
article imageUnravelling the friction between CPIM and Kerala’s major media houses
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