The Kerala regional committee of The Indian Newspaper Society has termed “the organised disruption of the distribution of copies of Malayala Manorama in some parts of Kozhikode district a clear breach of press freedom as also the readers' right to know.”

A statement issued by P.V. Chandran, chairman of the regional committee of the INS, said: “It is regrettable that since October 22, a certain organisation is impeding the distribution of Malayala Manorama in Kozhikode town and some other parts of Kozhikode district, by exerting pressure on that newspaper's agents and distributors. Baseless rumours concerning Malayala Manorama and other newspapers are also being spread.”

The regional committee discussed the issue at a meeting in Kochi on Monday and sought, through a unanimously passed resolution, to make readers aware of the fact that “the claim that Malayalam newspapers give their agents only a small sum as commission is not true.”

All major newspapers give for each copy Rs.32.50 each month as commission, the statement said.

Agents get a commission of 25 per cent on each copy of other Malayalam publications.

The statement pointed out that it is not an employer-employee relationship that exists between newspaper establishments and agents: agents undertake their function as a commission-based business.

The INS appealed to all concerned to “refrain from forcibly disrupting the distribution of the Malayala Manorama daily.”

It sought “the strong support of society in general to have the reader's right to read the newspaper of one's choice restored.”