Lawyers issue new threats against journalists in Kerala

Stones pelted at vehicles of media organisations at court

Gulf News

Thiruvananthapuram: There was no respite for journalists in Kerala doing court reporting as lawyers continued to threaten them on the premises of a vigilance court in the state capital on Friday.

A group of journalists, including two women, who were at the vigilance court in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday to report the court proceedings, were threatened by some lawyers present in the court and asked to go out.

A judge in the court could not help the journalists. Some of the journalists said the lawyers shouted, “Who allowed you here? Get out”.

Stones were also pelted at the vehicles of media organisations that had been parked in the vicinity of the vigilance court.

The journalists were then taken out of court with police assistance. The incident happened on a day when journalist had been in the vigilance court to cover the latest development regarding the vigilance and anticorruption department proceedings against industry minister, E.P. Jayarajan.

Friday’s incident in the court comes even after state chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan had held a discussion with the state chief justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar, and had announced that journalists would be free to do court reporting. The chief justice also said there were no restrictions on media in the high court.

Lawyers in the state have been at loggerheads with journalists after media carried the report of a government pleader, Dhanesh Mathew Manjooran allegedly molesting a woman in Kochi. Since then, there has been an undeclared ban on journalists on court premises in the state.

Earlier, president Pranab Mukherjee had expressed concern at the inability of media to cover proceedings in courts in Kerala.

Earlier this month, Kerala governor P. Sathasivam, himself a former chief justice of India’s apex court, appealed to lawyers and journalists to bury their differences. He pointed out that the functions of lawyers and journalists were “integral” to the working of a democracy. Sathasivam said media’s presence in courts helped in ensuring the society’s right to know.