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Malayalam daily faces social media backlash for ‘disrespectful’ cartoon of TV anchor, law school principal

The newspaper has depicted Dr Lekshmi Nair as a tethered donkey, with the headline "Thalachu" or "Tamed".

By: Trends Desk | New Delhi |
February 2, 2017 10:29:41 pm
madhyamam-cartoon_759 It’s okay to ask Dr Lekshmi Nair to go, but abuse is unacceptable, say people on social media.

Dr Lekshmi Nair, a popular Malayalam TV anchor and principal of Kerala Law Academy, was recently accused of mismanagement, harassment and favouritism by the students. Following the outcry, Kerala’s capital city Thiruvananthapuram saw massive and widespread protests by student unions demanding her resignation, reportedly leading to her being suspended for five years. According to a report by The News Minute, a student said her favourite threat was “thulachu kalayum”, meaning “will destroy you”. Although Nair was criticised for being verbally abusive towards students, it is a popular regional Malayalam newspaper that is receiving much flak, after it carried a caricature of Nair on its front page.

Madhyamam, the regional paper, has depicted Nair as a tethered donkey, with the headline “Thalachu” or “Tamed”. Netizens, including journalists, have taken to social media platforms to call out the daily for being “disrespectful”.

Facebook user Anupama Venkitesh criticised the paper, saying how this will overshadow the significant work done by other journalists. “Shame on you,” she wrote.

Stanly Johny, another Facebook user and a journalist himself, wrote how can a newspaper sanction this on their front page.

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Sample other reactions the daily’s February 1, 2017 front page has garnered below.

Ashita Ashee wrote against the daily’s move too, dissing how ‘some in the media destroys somebody’s image in no time’.

Goutham Soorya, another Facebook, user raised an important question about the sexism that the newspaper callously seems to have indulged in. Written in Malayalam, his post can be roughly translated thus:

“I have a doubt. If Lakshmi Nair was a man would it have created half of the problems like it has now? Rallies, wall posters on defaming her? Social media has peeped in and mocked her private life, her dressing style and what not. Would have newspapers published such derogatory cartoons? This is not the first time, we get to see a Principal who has come under scrutiny. Just punish her for her mistake. Don’t go overboard. Just like Renji Panicker said, ‘Just because she was a woman?'”

See what else is going viral, here

The incident has an eerie resemblance with The Telegraph’s lead page from February 25, 2016, that carried the headline ‘Aunty National’ about then Union HRD minister Smriti Irani and her Lok Sabha reply to the Rohith Vemula suicide controversy and the JNU student eruption.

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First published on: 02-02-2017 at 10:29:41 pm

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