The Kerala High Court on Wednesday directed the state government that the units of Malayalam news channel, Asianet News should be granted effective police protection, if the channel requests the same in view of the recent protests against it by the activists of Students Federation of India (SFI), the students wing of CPI-M.
A single judge bench of Justice N Nagaresh said that an incident relating to alleged fake news telecast by the channel has attained political colour and there is likelihood of further protests and violence against the channel.Hence, the court directed the police to deploy sufficient personnel ,if the news channel seeks police protection.
The order came on a plea moved by Asianet News, seeking police protection after some activists of the SFI had forcibly entered the channel’s office in Ernakulam and raised slogans in protest.
The channel is facing protests over allegations that in November 2022 it aired a staged interview in which a minor girl was made to say that she was a victim of drug abuse and sexual exploitation.
The channel had approached the High Court alleging that a group of nearly 30 activists of the Students Federation of India (SFI), the students wing of CPI-M violently and forcefully trespassed into its office at Kochi and intimidated the staff on March 3, 2023.
A group of 30 SFI members entered the Asianet News regional office in Kochi, forced their way past security guards, and interfered in press operations by yelling slogans and also threatening the staff members and journalists on Friday evening.
The Kerala Police on Sunday conducted a raid at the Kozhikode office of the popular Malayalam news channel Asianet News
The raid was carried out on the basis of a complaint filed by Left independent MLA P V Anvar, who accused the channel of conducting a fake interview as part of its series titled “Narcotics is a dirty business” last November.
Police registered a case against four persons including journalists of Asianet News on the complaint of filming fake scenes. The case is registered against K Shahjahan and Naufal Bin Yusuf and two others,under charges of POCSO, forgery and conspiracy.