A global body of news publishers today expressed deep concern over “on-going restrictions” imposed on court reporting in Kerala and called for immediate steps to ensure that journalists are provided “unhindered access”.
WAN-IFRA President Tomas Brunegard raised the matter with Kerala High Court Chief Justice and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in two separate letters, where he also sought a thorough probe into alleged violence against mediapersons.
“Left unpunished, crimes against media can lead to a state of impunity that threatens the very fabric of democratic society,” Brunegard said in his letters, which came a day after similar plea was made by the International Press Institute (IPI).
WAN-IFRA made an appeal to Kerala HC Chief Justice Mohan Shantanagoudar to intervene and direct the court officials to lift the restrictions imposed on the media so that journalists may cover proceedings in a fair manner.
Brunegard noted, “regrettably” the situation remains the same despite Vijayan’s intervention and journalists were being forced to rely on information provided by Public Relations Officer of the Kerala High Court, he said.
A group of advocates had on July 20 allegedly attacked media persons outside the Kerala High Court complex in Kochi, leaving two persons injured.
The Ernakulam unit of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists alleged that the advocates resorted to violent protest against the media as they were provoked by its coverage of an alleged attempt by a government pleader to molest a woman.