The Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) has come out demanding action against Kerala IAS officer N Prasanth for sending an inappropriate sticker on WhatsApp to a woman journalist who had approached him for an official reaction. N Prasanth is currently the Managing Director of Kerala State Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC), which is caught in a political controversy after it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a US firm on deep sea trawling.
When the journalist reached out, Prashant sent her two stickers, one of which the journalist pointed out to him, was offensive. KUWJ has written to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Chief Secretary Vishwas Mehta, demanding appropriate action against the IAS officer.
It was on Monday that KP Pravitha, a reporter with Mathrubhumi newspaper texted N Prasanth, introducing herself and seeking his reply. In the screenshots of the WhatsApp messages that have surfaced, the journalist could be seen asking whether it was a good time to talk regarding a news story. To this N Prasanth replied with just a sticker of a man with a mocking expression. When the reporter replied to that stating, â€śIt is not to harm you. Just to know what you have to sayâ€ť, N Prasanth replied with a sticker of an actor's back.
When the reporter questioned what kind of a response it was, the IAS officer replied with yet another sticker.
In the screenshots, the reporter could then be seen objecting to the image. â€śNever expected such an obscene response from a person holding a responsible government post. I will be reporting this to authorities concerned..,â€ť she said.
To this N Prasanth is seen replying, â€śNice way to extract news. But sorry. Wrong person and wrong tactics." In another reply after this, he says, â€śNo wonder some journalists are compared to scavengers.â€ť
"It is condemnable that a reporter who sought his reply was humiliated using lewd emojis", KUWJ said in a statement. â€śThough it is usual that there would be no reply, humiliating a journalist with lewd replies is not something befitting a senior IAS officer,â€ť KUWJ said in its statement. It is not only in Kerala, journalists across the globe seek reactions from concerned officials regarding controversies, KUWJ pointed out.
â€śThis is not just against women, but it is also a humiliation to the whole community of journalists and the society,â€ť KUWJ President KP Reji and General Secretary ES Subash, stated.
KUWJ also condemned Lekshmy Prasanth, N Prasanthâ€™s wife, who had published a post on Facebook against the journalist. Lekshmy had taken to Facebook, writing that it was she who had replied to the messages from the journalist. In the Facebook post where N Prasanth is also tagged, Lekshmy also states that journalists had been pestering Prasanth with calls. She also called the journalistâ€™s action seeking Prasanth's reactions repeatedly, to be part of a â€śquotationâ€ť given to her. A source close to Prashant pointed out that Lakshmi was also facing a lot of abuses following her FB post.
The stickers that were sent: