Making fabricated video is not journalism; don't compare Asianet and BBC raids: CM in assembly

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Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan lashed out at the Opposition for comparing the raid at BBC office to the recent search by the police at the office of Asianet News. During the Assembly session, the CM said that the fabricated video content is not a part of journalism.

“The raid at Asianet’s office shall not be compared to the series of raids held under the tax officials at BBC offices. Raid was held at BBC for bringing out the connection of a person in power with a communal riot. Here, the raid has not been carried out for speaking against the government. Hence, such arguments will not be valid here,” the CM replied to the notice of adjournment motion raised by the Opposition.

The CM said that Asianet News telecast an interview of a minor girl in November 2022 by misleading that the schools in the state are under the grip of drug mafia.

Following an investigation, police had found that the statements of a minor girl telecast in Asianet News in August 2022 were untrue. The complaint against Asianet News noted that the audio recorded in this case had been used to shoot the video with another girl in November. Kozhikode- Vellayil police have registered a case and are investigating based on the complaint lodged by MLA PV Anwar, said CM. Protests erupted all over the state for misusing a minor girl to make such a fake video. SFI conducted a march to the office of Asianet News in Ernakulam and eight protesters were arrested after Asianet filed a complaint, CM said.

In reply to PV Anwar’s unstarred question, CM had informed that a chargesheet was prepared over the sexual assault allegations raised by the girl, who appeared in the video telecast in August. However, the other statements regarding similar assaults against her classmates were found to be invalid in the police probe.

In the Assembly, MLA Vishnunadh slammed the police for demanding Asianet executive editor Sindhu Sooryakumar, who is currently in rest after a surgery, to appear at Kozhikode police station on Monday morning. However, CM hit back saying the police does not enquire about the health condition of anyone before sending notice. If the person has any issues in appearing before the police, she should report it.

The idea of press freedom cannot be brought in this case. Police will not abstain from taking action in a criminal case by considering the job of the accused, said CM.

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