The Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) on Wednesday released a statement, slamming social media users for showing disrespect to the two crew members of Mathrubhumi news channel, KK Saji and Bipin Babu, who died when their boat capsized in Mundur, Kottayam district, on Monday.
The joint statement, put out by KUWJ general secretary C Narayanan and president Kamal Varadoor, said that the social media users in Kerala must not lower their moral standards by disrespecting dead bodies in the name of criticizing the media.
â€śThis unbelievable tragedy happened to the people who tried to inform the world about the tragedy of people trapped in an island,â€ť said the statement.
â€śIt was a journey they (the news team) took without even thinking about their own lives. Instead of feeling sad and offering condolences, many wanted to mock the spirit shown by the journalists to do their service and celebrate the death of these journalists,â€ť it read.
Some of the social media messages that mocked the deaths include â€śWhen a disaster happens, we are not supposed to feel happy but how can we not feel happy about this news?â€ť, â€śCanâ€™t blame anyone, these journalists have irritated us so much.â€ť, â€śVery good, hoping to hear more good news like these.â€ť
A few comments were on the lines of anti-government activities. â€śThe bodies of those journalists who went to write anti government stories have been foundâ€ť, read one of the messages.
The KUWJ, in the statement, said that none of the crew members, including the reporters, who died on Monday â€śwent with the intention to inform the government and government officials about the various issues of these places.â€ť
The statement also emphasized that even when criticisms are made against these journalists, there is a need to accept facts.
â€śWhen an incident occurs, people are curious to know what happened. It is journalists who take the risk of giving people the details and pictures, without considering what time of the day it is,â€ť reads the statement.
KUWJ also points out that the journalism reflects what a democracy is all about.
â€śOne of the important tasks at hand for the people of this state right now is to help those families affected by the recent disaster,â€ť says the statement.
The deceased, KK Saji and Bipin Babu, along with three other members of the reporting team had gone to cover relief camps in Mundar and had travelled in two small boats. The team was on their way back when the boat capsized in the deep end of the Kariyar river.
While three members were able to hold on to the boat for some time, Bipin and Saji were swept away by strong currents.