MUMBAI: The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) has come out in support of Malayalam news channel Mathrubhumi News that has been dragged into a controversy regarding a news item it aired on 7 June.
Recently, a case was registered against the deputy editor Venu Balakrishnan and the anchor of the show Super Prime Time for initiating a discussion regarding the torture of a young Muslim by the police and the ruckus in the state assembly following police atrocities.
The FIR was filed following a complaint filed by local leaders of DYFI, the youth wing of the ruling CPI (M), under Section 153 A of IPC.
NBA president Rajat Sharma shot off a letter to Kerala chief minister stating, “It is understood that the opening sentences of the anchor’s comment was taken out of context and a case foisted against him. While the NBA maintains that no individual or institution is above the law, it condemns any attempt to muzzle the media and causing any interference in the free functioning of news operations.”
NBA considers that police action against the anchor, based on the FIR is unacceptable and an attack on the freedom of the press. “We request you and the state administration to ensure that journalists and media persons are allowed to perform their duties in a free and fearless manner. Such a move also undermines the basic tenets of free speech enshrined in the constitution of India,” Sharma added.
He also added that the media provides a service that is essential for any democratic society and keeps the public informed and hence must be protected by the law enforcing agencies.