Three Kerala journalists have approached the state police to complain of harassment on social media by CPI(M) sympathisers, The News Minute reported on Tuesday.
According to the report, the journalists Nisha Purushothaman, the Chief News Producer of Manorama News, Kamalesh KG, Principal Correspondent with Asianet News and Prajula Kamalesh, News Editor with Asianet News, alleged that their coverage during the pandemic and the gold smuggling case, has resulted CPI(M) sympathisers targeting them and their families.
The issue became bigger after Vineeth VU, a staff member at Deshabhimani, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party posted a derogatory statement on Nisha after she had in June erred while anchoring a bulletin.
Asianet News Chief Reporter Kamlesh and wife Prajula too faced personal attacks following the channel's reporting on the gold smuggling case. Notably, the CPI(M) has said that it would boycott Asianet’s prime time debates.
On Monday, Kerala CM P Vijayan also said that people should engage in healthy debates and not personal attacks.
Asianet has been at the receiving end of the Centre as well. A few months ago, the Centre, in a move reminiscent of the 1975 Emergency, ordered Asianet and MediaOne off the air for 48 hours for what it considers as 'provocative' reporting by them on the Delhi riots.
Both channels were showing blank screens since 7.30pm following the clamp down by the Information and Broadcasting ministry. The channels said they were not even warned before the drastic action.
The ban was subsequently lifted.
Recently, the West Bengal police arrested two Arambagh TV journalists on charges of extortion.
The reporters in question have conducted several exposés in recent times, revealing that the police stations were allegedly giving money to clubs in April. Since then, the ruling party has apparently been angry with the channel and its reporters. In another report they had said spoken about extortion by the police.
On August 7, The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a plea asking the Centre to regulate broadcast news channels.
The apex court issued notice to the Centre and directed to file a reply within four weeks. The Supreme Court has issued notice to the Centre seeking directions to restrict the activities of "unregulated, uncontrolled" broadcasting channels from "assassinating dignity of individuals" under the guise of press freedom.
The PIL was filed by advocate Reepak Kansal. The PIL states that, "The live debates and reporting on the electronic broadcasting channels cannot be stopped until unless it would be regulated by statutory body."