"Proud of my integrity, proud to be a woman journalist." "Mangalam TV deserves no forgiveness." "Female reporter is not equal to honey trap."
These and more slogans resonated in the air, as women journalists marched towards the office of Malayalam television channel Managalam TV in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday.
The march started from Thampanoor Aristo junction and ended outside the closed gates of the newly launched television channel. The channel's "expose" on a minister had caused ripples in the state, both in the political and the media circles.
The protest march by the women journalists marked stiff opposition against Mangalam TV using a woman journalist to 'entrap' former transport minister AK Saseendran. The incident, most women journalists believe, had brought disrepute to them.
Along with journalists from various media organizations, The News Minute, too registered its strong opposition against the unethical ways of Mangalam TV.
Geetha Nazeer, Deputy Coordinating Editor at Janayugom Publications and the state convener of NWMI said that Mangalam TV's half-hearted apology will not put an end to the discussion.
"This is an attack on all the woman journalists and Mangalam TV cannot get away by furnishing an apology. Any degree of persuasion or move to influence our protest will not pull us down. Mangalam TV has insulted women journalists. We are being forced to confront questions from various quarters, questioning our credibility," she said.
NWMI's national delegate Geetha Bakshi said that never before had the media done such stings.
"Having started my career with Mangalam newspaper, I have had to deal with people trying to influence me. These women journalists have risen above all this and found their way in this demanding profession. We have all worked hard and in an ethical manner to reach where we are today," she said.
Senior journalist Saritha Varma pointed out the importance of having such protests, at a time when the integrity of women journalists are being questioned.
The protest march on Friday comes two days after the Network of Women in Media in India (NWMI) wrote to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, pointing out that Managalam TV's "expose" had led to women journalists being accused of involving in honey traps.
â€śSuch allegations are affecting our work, and this is very insulting. CEO of Mangalam TV has admitted that it was indeed a sting operation. We treat this breach of ethics with utmost seriousness. He claimed that the woman reporter had willingly taken up the job of carrying out the sting operation on the minister. This argument can never be accepted. The channel is trying to escape, putting the onus on the woman reporter,â€ť a letter sent to CM by NWMI on Friday reads.