Five FIRs have been registered against editor-in-chief of ReporterLive television channel Nikesh Kumar, for reporting the Dileep case. In this conversation, he shares his thoughts about the case with TNM’s Dhanya Rajendran.

Dhanya Rajendran in conversation with Nikesh KumarSCREENGRAB
news Dileep Wednesday, February 02, 2022 - 16:24

“This case will not face an ending similar to the Franco Mullakkal case. I can assure you that,” says the editor-in-chief of Reporter Live television channel Nikesh Kumar. In a conversation with TNM’s Dhanya Rajendran, Nikesh shares his thoughts about the Dileep case and its aftermath.

Nikesh says that it was “his responsibility” as a “citizen and media person” to bring to light what he comes across. One similar attempt was the interview of Balachandrakumar. On January 28, five FIRs were filed against Nikesh by Cyber Crime Police Station, Kochi. “Balachandrakumar was an insider of Dileep’s group in that time period. I, too like others, had doubts if he was telling the truth. But he had audio tapes as proof to say that he was an insider. Though I had insecurities regarding him, I could recognize the voices in the audio as that of Dileep or his brother. So, an insider from that time period is talking about what happened and is making available some conversations from back then. This becomes very important given that 20 witnesses turned hostile. The police should get to know about this incident and so I put forth through the medium I work in,” he says.

‘Gag order and Balachandrakumar interview mixed up’

Speaking about the cases filed against the television channel, Nikesh says there is “no need” to mix up gag orders on the trial with an interview from Balachandrakumar. He says, “Balachandrakumar came to us as a director who alleged that he was being threatened by Dileep. When questioned about why he was being threatened, he spoke about the said videos being watched and incidents that took place in that crucial time period. This is something outside of the case, and there is no need to mix both of them. As a result of mixing it up, five cases have been registered against ReporterLive television channel.” He added that there was no connection between telecasting this and the gag order on in-camera proceedings.

“I have the responsibility, as a media person, to inform the things I get to know. It is the responsibility of me as a media person, and I will stand by it. If it is proved that I did not follow the gag order, I am ready to accept whatever the court says, and if I am given any punishment,” Nikesh says.

Panelists are a reflection

Nikesh says that he receives calls asking him ‘not’ to include some people in the panel in his debate. “This comes from a place where people are disturbed by how panelists in support of Dileep talk. But I see them as reflecting what should be spoken at that place. Their expressions are apt in that panel.”

“Sometimes, we might doubt on how a person like Dileep can give a quotation for committing a sexual assault. But when we hear these people - who support him - talk in the panel, we can understand that ‘those who talk like this can do anything,’” he says.

Woman actors’ unwavering support to the survivor

Speaking about the constant and consistent support extended by several women actors to the survivor, Nikesh says that the Malayalam media should become more bold and move forward instead of ‘moving backward in time erasing all the progress’.

“The unity and the unwavering stand of several actors, including Parvathy Thiruvothu, Padmapriya, Ramya Nambeesan and others, who took to supporting the survivor, is not there in the media. These actors in their prime time, in their twenties, faced a lot of problems and were outcast from Malayalam cinema. But they did not back off,” he says.

Further, he pointed out about the male actors who escape from answering the questions related to women safety or Hema commission report (the commission was formed after the 2017 actor sexual assault case and is touted to shed light on the discrimination and harassment faced by female artists in the Malayalam film industry) and says that they should understand that ‘all these things can happen to anyone.

Dileep case will not end like Mulakkal case

“Going forward, we will be consistently following up this case. This will not be like Franco Mulakkal’s judgment and there is no need to doubt that. Franco celebrated not his success, but our failure. I am saying this as a citizen,” Nitesh says.

Lastly, Nitesh adds that he will ‘be doing what we can do’. “I will not get involved in something that disturbs my conscience and will put up a fight against what happens.”

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