Monday, September 14, 2009

UDF stages walkout over press freedom

14 September 2009

Thiruvananthapuram: Congress-led UDF opposition members on Monday staged a walkout in the Kerala Assembly alleging that the government was trying to gag the press even as Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan made it clear that there was no plan to impose any control over the media.

Referring to the statement made by State Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan yesterday that the LDF government was planning to "take evidence" from the media on reports regarding controversial cases, the opposition alleged that it was an attempt to "infringe" on the Freedom of Press.

Balakrishnan made the remark while referring to the media reports on the progress of investigation into the murder of a Kerala-based businessman Paul M George. Replying on behalf of Balakrishnan to the submission on the matter raised by UDF, state Law Minister M Vijayakumar said he was only referring to the existing rules and "there is no proposal to bring any new law for summoning journalists for taking evidence."

Vijayakumar said Balakrishnan was in Delhi to receive an award, instituted by 'India Today' magazine, as Kerala was selected the best state in the country with regard to maintenance of law and order.

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