Chief Minister A.K. Antony seems to be bearing Speaker Vakkom Purushottaman’s cross. While the Speaker’s restrictions on coverage by the visual media of House proceedings continues, Antony too seems to have now caught the censor bug.
A few days back, videographers were asked to leave the Secretariat grounds where they were covering the inauguration of a police officers’ conference. As it is, they weren’t allowed inside the Durbar Hall, but later they were evicted from the grounds itself. Media persons allege that a directive from Antony, who addressed the meeting, was responsible. A couple of days before lensmen were refused permission to shoot a meeting of the Planning Board attended by the CM.
Though it seems as if the CM is declaring solidarity with the Speaker, Antony’s fears seem to lie elsewhere. He is apprehensive of media persons staging demonstrations against the Speaker’s ban at his meetings. They already did that once by appearing for a press meet wearing black bands on their sleeves.
Meanwhile, the Opposition boycotted question hour in the assembly on Tuesday, demanding withdrawal of the restrictions. Adding fuel to the fire is the affidavit filed by the government in the high court in which it wanted that the "curbs should continue". As the press and Opposition intensifies its agitation against the Speaker’s decision, it looks like Antony is left with little option but to keep the fourth estate at arm’s length.