Over 15 journalists were detained by the Mangaluru police on Friday, while they were covering the post-mortem of two people who died in police firing at the Wenlock hospital. The City Commissioner's office claimed that that they were being questioned because they were not carrying 'accreditation cards' issued by any authority. A majority of the journalists detained are from Malayalam channels.
Mangaluru Police Commissioner Dr Harsha told News18, "A few people who did not have any accreditation cards issued by any authority, were not from any formal media, and found with possessions unconnected to reporting, are being questioned."
Accreditation cards, which are issued to journalists by the state and central government, grant access to state Assemblies, Parliament and other government events. However, it is not compulsory for journalists to possess the card to cover regular events and news, and there are no inter-state accreditation cards.
According to the Commissioner's office, the journalists were detained around 9 am and other media were not allowed to talk to them. Amongst those detained are camerapersons and reporters from prominent Malayalam news outlets like Asianet, Twentyfour News, MediaOne and News18. They were forced to sit inside a van outside the Wenlock Hospital morgue. They had come there to report and speak to family members of the deceased.
A journalist from a Malayalam channel was on live when he was detained by cops. He has his camera, logo and crew. Same case with all. pic.twitter.com/xGRgISBaz7â€” Dhanya Rajendran (@dhanyarajendran) December 20, 2019
The police say they don't have accreditation. No Kerala journalist can have Karnataka accreditation or vice versa. Pls understand. No one said they didn't have id cards https://t.co/RbBusMVFizâ€” Dhanya Rajendran (@dhanyarajendran) December 20, 2019
When asked about the journalists detained from his state, Kerala Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan said, "Once I received the information that Kerala journalists including those from Kasaragode have been taken into custody by police in Mangaluru, I asked Kerala Chief Secretary to contact Karnataka government and conduct an inquiry into it. "
This detention comes after two persons died following violence in Mangaluru on Thursday when protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in the city were ongoing. The people who died have been identified Jaleel Kudroli (49) and Nausheen Bengre (23). The police have not officially revealed the nature of their injuries, but sources at the hospital say they were bullet injuries.