KERALA

Meet to discuss media-police relationship soon

Thiruvananthapuram March 30. The Minister for Information and Parliamentary Affairs, M.M. Hassan, has made a plea not to view the Antony Government as ``anti-media''.

Speaking at a function as part of the birth centenary celebrations of Kerala Kaumudi Founder-Editor K. Sukumaran here today, he asserted that it was the policy of the Government to neither gag the press nor control its functioning.

He, however, appealed to the media to recourse to ``constructive criticism'', which would help not only the Government but also society as a whole.

Referring to recent incidents of attacks on mediapersons covering law and order problems, Mr. Hassan said the Government had promptly taken action against the police personnel who had attacked mediapersons while they were discharging their duty.

The rogue policemen were identified through an identification parade.

``Through this action, the Government has given a strong message that it will not protect police personnel who seek to attack mediapersons on duty,'' he said.

Mr. Hassan said the Chief Minister, A.K. Antony, would soon convene a meeting of those concerned to discuss how to ensure a lasting good relationship between the press and the police.

The Government would not tolerate the new trend of attacking mediapersons.

A large number of such cases have been reported in the recent past, he said.

The Minister said he had mooted the idea of enacting an Information Legislation only to improve the quality of visual media and not to impose restrictions on the freedom of the press.

However, the Government had dropped the idea in the context of the Centre enacting the Freedom of Information Act.

Mr. Hassan said Sukumaran, who had always taken a courageous stand on the various issues, was worth emulating by the new generation of journalists.

Inaugurating the function, the Leader of the Opposition, V.S. Achuthanandan, criticised the Government for turning a blind eye to the increasing incidence of attacks on mediapersons by the police.

Mr. Achuthanandan said Sukumaran had always treated every employee of the newspaper as a family member.

``It is gratifying that the same system is still continuing in the newspaper,'' he added.

The function was organised by the Kerala Kaumudi Non-journalist Association. UNI

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