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CPI(M) veteran and former chief minister V S Achuthanandan Tuesday hit out against the ban on media in courts in Kerala and said the state was witnessing a strange phenomena of “gag on press” when it was celebrating 60 years of its formation. “It is an irony that efforts are on to gag the press by persons who are responsible to ensure justice,” he said at the special session of the Assembly held to mark the state’s formation day.
Targeting the section of lawyers who continued to prevent media persons from reporting in courts, Achuthanandan said the action of a few lawyers should not mar democracy and it was not good for anybody to continue this (ban on media).
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The veteran Marxist leader sought to know what the situation would be if media was barred from the press gallery in the Assembly just because they had some tiff with one or two MLAs. “Is it not absurd to close the doors of courts to media just became of the stubbornness of a few lawyers?” he asked. Meanwhile, the Kerala Union of Working Journalists also urged Chief Justice of India T S Thakur to resolve the issue as early as possible.
Media personnel are not being allowed to cover High Court and other court proceedings since July 19 after a group of lawyers chased them away over a media report about a government pleader allegedly misbehaving with a woman.
On October 15, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said there was no bar on journalists reporting court proceedings and had called the action of some lawyers obstructing the media as “unacceptable” and that the government would take action against those violating the law. Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan had also sought the CJI’s intervention to ensure freedom of media persons.