Protests against filing of cases on The Hindu Resident Editor S. Nagesh Kumar continued across the State on Thursday even as the Andhra Pradesh Union of Working Journalists (APUWJ) organised a ‘satyagraha” here on Thursday.
Senior journalists, including the editors of language and English dailies, participated in the satyagraha to condemn the ‘vindictive attitude’ of the DGP, V. Dinesh Reddy, and expressed their solidarity with Mr. Nagesh Kumar. A delegation of the IJU and APUWJ called on Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan later seeking his intervention in the ‘witch-hunting’ being indulged in by the DGP. The State police chief was trying hard to muzzle the voice of the media, a vital institution of democracy. “The police officers of lower and middle rank are not hesitating to harass Mr. Nagesh Kumar indicating that all these developments are taking place at the DGP’s behest,” the memorandum said.
Addressing the protesting journalists earlier, The Hindu Rural Affairs Editor, P. Sainath, condemned the police for their ‘morally reprehensible act’. “The police indulged in a police State kind of outrageous intimidation.” The agitation launched by the scribes was a fight against the arbitrary action and for protection of free expression. The agitation went beyond The Hindu as journalists stood up for honesty and truth. “I believe you are winning your battle and you will know about this shortly,” he said.
Former Press Academy chairman Potturi Venkateswara Rao lamented that the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution was weak as was reflected by the cases registered against an institution like The Hindu. Veteran journalist G.S. Varadachari said the struggle was not confined to The Hindu alone and the issue pertained to all the journalists.
NTv chief editor K. Srinivasa Rao, who objected to the police chief’s dictatorial tendencies, wanted Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy to intervene in the matter and ensure that the cases against Mr. Nagesh Kumar were withdrawn unconditionally. Namasthe Telangaana editor Allam Narayana said the incident exposed the feudal tendency of the police chief. Visalandhra editor K. Srinivas Reddy said the Chief Minister should pull up the official for registering such cases.
IJU secretary general D. Amar questioned the rationale behind filing of cases against Mr. Nagesh Kumar when the Editor of The Hindu was responsible for publication of the news. TV9 CEO Raviprakash stressed the need to join hands to oppose such attacks on the media houses. The DGP showed his evil intention by filing non-bailable sections on The Hindu Resident Editor skipping the ombudsman and other institutions to redress his grievance, said The Hindu Deputy Chief of Bureau, K. Venkateshwarlu.
The New Indian Express RE G.S. Vasu wondered how Mr. Nagesh Kumar was made to sit for hours in the police station at a time when the police boss himself was accused in a case. Journalists K. Lakshma Reddy, K. Sudhakar Reddy (Sakshi), AP Press Photographers Association president Ravikanth Reddy and others spoke.