Intimidating media a dangerous tendency: Chennithala

Staff Reporter

The KPCC president says such tendencies will only lead to anarchy

Media in Kerala facing big challenge

Parties told to show tolerance towards criticism

KOCHI: Intimidating media and the presspersons for bringing out unpleasant truths is a dangerous tendency in a democracy and needs to be checked in the budding stage itself, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Ramesh Chennithala has said.

Mr. Chennithala said such a tendency was being witnessed in Kerala at present and warned that it would lead to anarchy. He was speaking after inaugurating a seminar on the “Role of media in democracy” convened under the aegis of Alexander Parambithara Foundation here on Saturday.

Narayana Kurup, newly appointed Chairman of the Wage Board for journalists and newspaper employees, and P.N. Prasannakumar, member of the Board, were felicitated at the function. Vayalar Ravi, who was originally scheduled to inaugurate the function, could not attend owing to personal inconvenience.

Mr. Chennithala said that media played a vital role in parliamentary democracy. He said that a meaningful democracy called for free media, in the absence of which the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary would prove ineffective.

He said that democracy and democratic ideals had suffered whenever media was gagged and forced to deviate from its stated objective of bringing out the truth. He said that media in Kerala were facing a challenge as they were being targeted for exposing the truth. He said that it was shameful for Kerala society that an editor had to be given police protection for performing his duties.

He urged political parties to show tolerance towards criticism by the media. If the media went wrong then there were institutional mechanisms to raise complaints and to correct it, he opined. In a literate State like Kerala, the public would not take at face value if an allegation raised by the media against a political party or politicians was wrong, he said. Let the public debate the news, he said. At the same time the presspersons should realise the impact and reach of the news, he said.

Senior journalist T.V.R. Shenoy said that unless the Executive, Judiciary and Legislature revived its moral dignity, media would not have any effect.

Shreyams Kumar, MLA and director of Mathrubhumi, said that criticisms against his newspaper, regarding it as “yellow journal”, did not deserve any response. Our ultimate commitment was towards the readers, he said.

Senior journalist N.N. Satyavrathan presided over the function. Benny Behnan, managing director of Veekshanam daily, Thomas Jacob, Chairman, Kerala Press Academy, and P. Sujathan, Deputy Editor, Kerala Kaumudi, participated in the seminar. K.V. Thomas, MLA, who is also the president of the Alexander Parambithara Foundation, welcomed the gathering. David Parambithara offered a vote of thanks.

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