The News Broadcasters & Digital Association (NBDA) has strongly condemned the attack by Student Federation of India (SFI) activists into the office of Asianet in Kochi and the subsequent police search of the Malayalam news channel’s office in Kozhikode, Kerala, a Member of NBDA.
The attack by SFI activists and the subsequent police search of the broadcaster’s office, comes in the backdrop of the reporting by Asianet news channel on the issue of drug and sexual abuse of a young girl in Kerala. NBDA stated that such actions are not only unacceptable but are also a direct impingement on the media’s freedom of speech and expression as enshrined under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.
NBDA further stated that there can be no possible justification for attacking and/or searching the broadcaster’s premises as such attacks and searches are an obvious attempt to muzzle the media.
“Media is widely regarded as the fourth pillar of democracy and its function of disseminating news of public interest to the people is indispensable to the functioning of a democracy. Therefore, it is reiterated that any action which prevents the media from performing their duties is violative of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution,” read the statement.
NBDA has urged the Chief Minister of Kerala to take immediate action against the individuals and officials who attacked and/or searched the broadcasters office premises, clearly sending a message that no individuals or officials are beyond the purview of the law.