21-Jul-2018
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Withdraw police case against TV anchor Venu Balakrishnan: Oommen Chandy

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM July 10: Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has urged his successor Pinarayi Vijayan to withdraw the police case against TV anchor Venu Balakrishnan and the suspension of government official V Madhu. Both the actions were autocratic steps to curb freedom of press and freedom of expression.
 
The police had registered a case against Venu on the charge of promoting communal enmity over a statement during a live debate in the channel. Madhu was suspended for sharing a Facebook post on the Kevin murder.
 
“If the police begin to register cases on the basis of media reports, lot many working in the newspaper and TV channel run by the party would have been jailed by now,” Chandy said.
 
“Earlier, the state and Central Governments had not taken actions curtailing the values envisaged under the Constitution like secularism, democracy, socialism, and freedom of speech. But now signs of intolerance are cropping up in both places,” Chandy said.
 
Works Department staffer Madhu, a physically-challenged person, was suspended on frivolous grounds. Madhu was suspended for sharing a troll against CPM state secretary in the backdrop of the Kevin murder. The charge against him is attempting to defame the government. 
 
His suspension should be revoked immediately and the suspension period is regularised. “Governments will come and go. But freedom of press and freedom of expression should remain intact,” he said in the letter.