On Tuesday, Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa moved criminal defamation charges against DMK leader M Karunanidhi, the editor of the paper Murasoli and editors of Tamil weekly Ananda Vikatan for authoring and publishing articles against her.
The defamation case filed in the Principal Sessions Court in Chennai against Ananda Vikatan was on an article on the Chief Minister in its series called ‘Mantri-Tantri’.
But Ananda Vikatan, a Tamil weekly magazine owned by the Vikatan group of magazines, has hit back at the state government and said they will continue to speak the ‘truth’.
A statement released by the group says that the series in itself was nothing new, and they had done similar kind of journalism during the previous regime too.
“The series Mantri-Tantri has been running for the past 30 weeks. It has been read by Tamil people with great interest. This sort of a series is not new to Ananda Vikatan readers. During the previous regime, we had written a similar series on Karunanidhi and his ministers.”
“Assessing and criticizing the Government machinery as well as those who are our representatives is an important part of a magazine. As for the current series on the current Government, we published one article on Jayalalithaa with the title “What has Jayalalithaa done so far?” in the issue dated November 25. Since then, AIADMK mouth-piece Namadu MGR has been publishing articles which heavily criticize Ananda Vikatan. On behalf of Jayalalithaa, a defamation case has also been filed at Chennai Sessions Court on Vikatan’s editor-publisher and printer.”
The statement in Tamil says that the group is not new to legal threats and will face it.
Reacting to Ananda Vikatan’s Facebook page being blocked for two days, R Kannan, the editor who has released the statement, says that they believed there was a connection between the FB blackout and current political developments.
“An abnormal situation has been created. Ananda Vikatan’s Facebook page has been blocked from November 23 evening. Vikatan group has total 60 lakh followers on Facebook, Twitter and You-Tube. Only Ananda Vikatan magazine has been blocked. Ananda Viketan has not received any response from Facebook,” the statement says.
R Kannan goes on to say that news reports they were getting from several places in Tamil Nadu were forcing them to believe that freedom of speech was being curtailed in the state.
“Distributors, retailers and shop-keepers of the magazine have been contacted by some related to the police department. And they are asking them not to sell Ananda Vikatan. They are also told, “If you do not pay heed to our instructions, you have to face consequences for it,” R Kannan alleges.