After an eight-member Kerala police team conducted searches of the Asianet news office as part of its ongoing investigation into the telecast of an alleged "fake" news report about the sexual assault of a girl in November 2022, the Opposition Congress staged a walkout from the state assembly on Monday and passed an adjournment motion to discuss the matter as well.
"Kerala CM is proving that he is 'Modi in dhoti'. What Modi did in the BBC office same was done here in the Asianet News office by CM. This is a clear signal of intolerance. Both (CM & PM) are trying to frighten critics," Opposition leader V D Satheesan said in the assembly. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in response said that the raids on BBC cannot be compared to the police search of Malayalam news channel Asianet's office.
Kozhikode | Kerala CM is proving that he is 'Modi in dhoti'. What Modi did in the BBC office same was done here in the Asianet News office by CM. This is a clear signal of intolerance. Both (CM & PM) are trying to frighten critics: VD Satheesan, LoP, Kerala Assembly pic.twitter.com/kez6dmnY5M— ANI (@ANI) March 5, 2023
"The police action on Asianet News could not be compared with that of the BJP government's recent action against the BBC. It was the Congress and the BJP that used to take vindictive actions against the media," Vijayan said, according to a report by Deccan Herald.
While responding to an adjournment motion notice given by Congress MLA P C Vishnunath, Vijayan said that the channel did not deserve any protection of media freedom as it aired a 'fake' report on drug abuse among school students.
What is the complaint against the news channel?
CPI(M) sources on Saturday alleged that there was a complaint against the news channel for allegedly creating fake news using a minor girl about alleged sexual assault of over 10 girl students at a school in northern Kerala.
According to a report by The NewsMinute, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan had clarified the claims of the case and stated that a POCSO case was also registered at the Kannur town police station based on the complaint of the victim’s father and a chargesheet has been filed in the case. However, CM said that they have not managed to verify whether other students in her class have also been subjected to abuse, as the girl was seen saying in the news report, according to the TNM report.
According to the report, the minor’s story was aired first by Asianet News in August 2022 as a report by another reporter and the audio was used for the November 2022 report too, but the channel did not mention that this had been reported earlier by them.
(With inputs from PTI)