Forget paid news, Kerala CM blames media for 'made news' by hiring protesters
On Tuesday, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was greeted with black flags. Though protesters belonging to the Kerala Students' Union have come forward saying they waved the black flags, the CM says the protest was orchestrated and paid for by certain news channels.
Addressing a press meet in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday reiterated his statement that the youth who greeted him waving black flags were hired by some channels.
The Congress party’s ongoing protest against the fee hike in self-financing medical colleges of Kerala had taken a turn for the worse after Pinarayi accused Kerala media in the state Legislative Assembly of orchestrating the whole protest.
As Pinarayi continues to stick by his accusation, the state committee of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) issued a strongly worded statement condemning the Chief Minister’s stance in this regard.
Ina press note signed and released by state president PA Abdul Gafoor and state general secretary C Narayanan on Wednesday, KUWJ strongly condemned the CM’s stance in this regard.
Terming the CM’s allegation as utterly baseless and purely imaginative, KUWJ hoped that he would be willing to amend the same. KUWJ said it was unfortunate that the CM had adopted an intolerant attitude in the whole issue.
The media is not in the habit of hiring people for news, the Union affirmed: “The state media is bound to cover any newsworthy issue and it is wrong to describe the same as a hired act. The CM should ponder on whether it is right to pat the ones who actually waved the black flags, while targeting the media which simply covered the incident. Mediapersons do not show bias in reporting news. But the state media is now led to believe that the Kerala government is adopting measures to deliberately alienate the media by insulting and mocking them.”
Earlier in the day, KUWJ Thiruvananthapuram district secretary BS Prasannan too had called for the withdrawal of the said allegation by the Chief Minister. “It is painful that the CM has accused the media of hiring all those who waved black flags at him. Such a statement would only prove advantageous to the few who are trying to sideline the media in the state. We request the Chief Minister to withdraw his comment,” he mentioned in a statement released to the media.
Meanwhile the Kerala Students Union (KSU –the students’ wing of the Indian National Congress) activists who actually waved the black flags in protest have refuted the CM’s allegations, insisting that they were the ones who did it, and no one had hired them for the said act.
“My party co-workers and I waved the black flags at the CM. We have been KSU supporters since standard 8. After the LDF government came to power, we were arrested and kept in jail for about 20 days for a reported clash at Attingal. Am I the one who was hired by the media? Jameer and Hari who were with me too are Youth Congress workers. I just don’t understand how they could be hired by the media?” Rinku Padippurayil -former KSU Thiruvananthapuram district president- asks, while speaking to The News Minute.
However, in the press meet held on Wednesday the CM defended his earlier statement saying, “It was my assumption. I won’t say that was my mistake. I felt that it was the media who got the protestors there.”
Pinarayi went to add that he was familiar with the ways of the media: “When I came in the car, I saw two people holding a camera on to my right, while two others were waving black flags at me on my left. I asked myself how could it be possible that just two people would turn up for a protest from an organisation as big as the Youth Congress? A few ‘smart’ journalists had earlier too staged a similar scene.”
His previous experiences led him to believe that the whole flag-waving episode was orchestrated by the media, Pinarayi averred. “But if the Youth Congress say that it was an act of voluntary protest by them, I will not argue against the same,” he concluded.