Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan has barred two Malayalam channels from his press meet at Kochi on Monday.
The Governor asked the reporters from Kairali News and Media One channels to leave the place and said that he will not meet these two channels, accusing them of “masquerading” as political persons.
Asking them to go out, he said “I considered the media as very important. I have always responded to the media but I am not now able to persuade myself to those that masquerade as media. They are not media, they are masquerading as media but are basically political allies.
“There are actually members of a party here. So, if anybody from these channels is attending the press meeting, please leave. I would walk away if there are correspondents from Kairali and Media One. I had categorically mentioned that I will not talk to Kairali and Media One,” he added.
The press meet was held at the guest house in Kochi today morning.
While the ruling CPI(M) and the main opposition Congress termed his behaviour “fascist,” the Kerala Union of Working Journalists demanded that he rectify his “mistake” and expressed regret for his “undemocratic” action.
Leader of Opposition, VD Satheesan said that by barring a section of the press, Mr Khan was preventing dissemination of information to the people. It is unacceptable, undemocratic and unjustified, the Congress leader said.
“Excluding the media is a style of the fascist regime. It is not only a threat to democracy but also a violation of freedom of the press,” he said in a statement.
Earlier on October 24, Raj Bhavan barred four Malayalam channels including both these channels from attending a press meet of the Governor.
“The Governor earlier also took a similar stand. Those who criticised him were called cadres. This is unacceptable in a democratic society,” CPI(M) state secretary MV Govindan said.
Kairali News is the channel of ruling CPI (M). Besides, a Malayalam satellite channel Media One is facing a ban from the central government over security clearance issues.
The Supreme Court last week reserved its judgement on the plea of Media One against the ban. In an interim order in March, the court had allowed the channel to continue its broadcast.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)