What timing! Guess who was recently invited to the Meet-the-Press programme organised by the Trivandrum Press Club - the infamous blabbermouth Kerala MLA PC George. He was recently busy in press meets, one after the other, giving his uninvited two cents on the ongoing protests by nuns against Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal. Well, this time, he came to speak about the Kerala floods, a crisis for which he is not known to have made any remarkable contribution. As expected, it did not go down well with several journalists, especially women journalists.
It was only a week ago that the misogynist MLA had shamed the rape survivor nun and declared that he does not give two hoots to Kerala Women’s Commission taking cognisance of his remarks, at two separate press meets. On Friday, PC George was invited and ‘honoured’ as the guest to the press event as part of ‘Pralayandandara Keralam’, a series on the Kerala floods.
Post the meeting, journalists and members of the press club, M Sarita Varma and Saraswathy Nagarajan, shot off a letter to the office bearers of Trivandrum Press Club, expressing their strong protest against the choice of guest.
“We feel profoundly let down that the elected management of Trivandrum Press Club could invite a brazen misogynist as PC George as a guest for a Meet-the-Press function. As you know, giving space for a potential news-makers press-conference and inviting someone for a Meet-the-Press are two acts of mutually different dimensions,” read the letter to President G Pramod and Secretary M Radhakrishnan of Trivandrum Press Club.
The journalists further pointed out in the letter that inviting PC George was a tight slap on the media fraternity who believe in gender-dignity.
“It was a tight slap on the self-respect of your media colleagues that the office-bearers chose to honour this particular legislator with a guest-tag, at a juncture when there is countrywide outrage over his much-repeated misogynist and obscene comments. Do consider that this has been a venue, which has hosted the most luminous minds in the likes of Kuldip Nayar, Vandana Shiva, Winnie Mandela etc!”
According to G Pramod, President, Trivandrum Press Club, “Pralayandandara Keralam is a special meet where members of the Kerala Legislative Assembly leaders are invited to discuss the flood-situations at their respective constituencies and their contributions. Other political leaders too, were invited, including Kanam Rajendran, V.D. Satheesan, Raju Abraham and Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, who inaugurated the programme on September 1. As a leader of Poonjar constituency, PC George came to speak only about the flood situation in Erattupetta.”
The journalists, in their letter, have expressed doubts over MLA PC George’s contribution. “Professionally speaking, we are mystified as to what was the contribution that this person made to the development discourse on the post-deluge rebuilding of Kerala. We also wonder whose interests were served by honouring him at our press club.”
It further reads, “As part of the electorate that brought you to the chair, this note is to register our strong protest, at according a guest-honour to this person, especially at a season, when his bile was hurting the society at large. The world has been taking long meaningful strides in gender-sensitivity this year and wouldn't it be a pity that our much-cherished Trivandrum Press Club is left behind!”
Reacting to the concerns expressed by his colleagues in the letter, M Radhakrishnan, secretary, Trivandrum Press Club, said, “This meeting was scheduled well in advance, even before PC George held the press conferences on the nun’s protests. However, in hindsight, we should have cancelled the Meet-the-Press after he had made the obscene comments about the nun. We promise to be more sensitive while making decisions that involve inviting special guests."