MoS V Muraleedharan supports ousted press club secy Radhakrishnan, women journos protest

The minister made many bizarre comments and also batted for Radhakrishnan’s 'personal freedom'.
MoS V Muraleedharan supports ousted press club secy Radhakrishnan, women journos protest
MoS V Muraleedharan supports ousted press club secy Radhakrishnan, women journos protest
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Just days after scores of women journalists from Kerala won a gigantic battle against Radhakrishnan, the former Thiruvananthapuram Press Club secretary, V Muraleedharan, the Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs, called the protest by women journalists a ‘motivated one’.

On November 30, Radhakrishnan, along with a group of people, barged into a woman journalist’s home at night when she was in the house with her children. The group abused and moral policed the woman journalist, and also assaulted a male friend of the woman's for visiting her. After many days of protests, the Press Club finally expelled former Secretary M Radhakrishnan from primary membership on December 12.

The minister, who was addressing the state conference of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ), was speaking about the freedom of the media. He was promising that the BJP would never take away the media’s rights, when he suddenly referred to the Radhakrishnan episode. 

“I heard in the news recently that the Secretary of a Press Club was changed. Why was the same interest not shown when, in earlier cases, women were complainants here (at the press club)?” he said.

Ironically, the KUWJ has also suspended Radhakrishnan for his behaviour.

The minister’s first barb was that women journalists had not shown the same enthusiasm while dealing with other complaints. His next comment was even more bizarre as he batted for Radhakrishnan’s 'personal freedom'.  

“This is not an objective approach. It is interfering in one's personal freedom. We are not respecting one's privacy,” the minister said.

One wonders how assembling people and barging into someone’s home and insulting them in front of their children amounts to 'personal freedom’.

V Muraleedharan then went on to say that the protest was politically motivated. “When in each case, media takes a subjective view based on the individuals involved, the credibility of their point of view will be questioned. Media persons will also be questioned. Perhaps not publicly,” he added.

Women journalists, many of them part of the Network of Women in Media that led the protest, however decided that the minister could not walk away after casting aspersions on their fight against the press club that has long been criticised for being a patriarchal institution. They accosted the minister as he was leaving the dais, and protested against his words, making their stand on Radhakrishnan clear. 

Perhaps V Muraleedharan should have read the note released by the Press Club while expelling Radhakrishnan. It said, “Radhakrishnan committed a criminal offence that destroyed the image of the journalists and that of the Press Club. He has also engaged in activities that consistently humiliate the complainant as well as other women journalists. The General Body examined his mail and from the explanation it was found that the crime committed by him was grave. Considering this, too, he has been expelled from the preliminary membership of the Press Club.”

There are nearly 500 members in the Thiruvananthapuram Press Club, and of them, 150 were present for the meeting that decided to oust Radhakrishnan.

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