Offices of the Asianet news channel in Kerala’s Kozhikode were searched by the police on Sunday, the media company said, two days after members of the student wing of the state’s ruling party took on the channel over a news report on the sexual assault of schoolgirls in the state.
Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar slammed the Pinarayi Vijayan government and shared a video of the police action on Twitter.
So @pinarayivijayan facing serious corruptn charges n questns from media thinks he can wriggle out n distract ppl by intimidatng media using his SFI hoodlums n thn his Police 😂🤷🏻♂️ #Jokerhttps://t.co/FFjLoJvas2
— Rajeev Chandrasekhar 🇮🇳 (@Rajeev_GoI) March 5, 2023
A group of Students’ Federation of India (SFI) activists allegedly forced their way into the office of the Malayalam news channel Asianet News in Kozhikode on Friday and threatened the staff over the news report telecast, the police said.
A case was registered against around 30 activists of the SFI, the student wing of the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI(M), based on a complaint lodged by the TV channel.
According to the complaint, the SFI activists allegedly entered the office around 8 pm, raising slogans against the news channel after pushing aside the security staff and intimidating its employees, the police said.
CPI(M) sources on Saturday alleged that there was a complaint against the news channel for allegedly creating “fake news” using a minor girl about the alleged sexual assault of over 10 girl students at a school in northern Kerala.
Sources in the SFI Ernakulam District Committee sought to justify the action by claiming that the student outfit organised the march to the Kochi office of the media house in protest against fake news run by it.
The news channel had run the story as part of its programme last year on the drug menace in the state.
Criticising the SFI action, the Press Club of India urged the Kerala government to launch an investigation into the incident.
“We express concern and lodge our protest over SFI activists reportedly entering the @AsianetNewsML office in Ernakulam and intimidating the staff. These strong-arm tactics have no place in a democracy. The Kerala government should probe this incident swiftly,” the Press Club of India said in a tweet on Friday.