Kochi: President Pranab Mukherjee has expressed serious concern over the unprecedented ban on journalists in Kerala courts and directed the media to bring this “serious situation” to the notice of the Supreme Court.
Speaking to a delegation of editors at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Wednesday, Mr Mukherjee said the restriction of access to court rooms ran counter to the spirit of democracy and the free functioning of the media in the country.
The media delegation comprising Malayala Manorama editor Philip Mathew, Asianet editor-in-chief M.G. Radhakrishnan and Mathrubhumi director (electronic media) Sreyams Kumar told the President that the denial of access to the courts amounts to the violation of the three fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution-citizen's right to know, media persons’ right to work and the citizens’ right to access to public places such as courts.
The editors explained to the President the sequence of events which started with the arrest of a government pleader for the alleged misbehavior with a woman. The editors informed the president about the closure of media room inside the High Court and at other courts in the state and the efforts by the chief justice to find an amicable solution to the problem. “The chief justice called two meetings to settle the issue,” the editors told the President.
The reporters who went to the court two-and-half months after the events on the assurances of the chief justice and senior lawyers were forced out of the High Court last week by a group of lawyers. The reporters now fear for their personal safety on the court premises, they told the President.
“The president gave us a patient hearing,” Mr Radhakrishnan told DC after the meeting. “The concern expressed by the President who is the custodian of the constitution is reassuring for the media in Kerala.”...