Union MoS External Affairs V. Muraleedharan. Image Source: IANS

Thiruvananthapuram: :May 13 : CPI(M) rajya sabha MP and former mediaperson John Brittas has slammed union minister of state for external affairs V Muraleedharan after the minister failed to invite ‘Asianet News’ to his official press conference.

The news channel’s correspondent was reportedly removed from a whatsapp group which intimates reporters about the union minister’s official functions. Hence, asianet news was virtually kept in the dark about the minister’s press conference called on Thursday.

When reporters asked the minister about it, Muraleedharan said that he had refused to invite the asianet news correspondent to his presser out of respect for the BJP Kerala unit’s decision to boycott the news channel.

However, John Brittas in a facebook post slammed the minister for barring asianet news from covering his press conference.

A minister’s press conference is an official function, not a personal function like a birthday party or marriage. The presser is paid for from taxpayer money. It is a reporter’s right to take part in such a press conference, the facebook post says.

The minister had actually committed a breach of his oath of office by barring a reporter from attending his press conference, Brittas charged.

Muraleedharan has shown favour to certain journalists by inviting them to the presser but shown prejudice against a reporter by preventing her (or him) from taking part in it. This is a violation of oath of office as the minister had been sworn into office by taking an oath to discharge his duties without favour or prejudice, the rajya sabha MP writes.

The BJP Kerala unit had decided to boycott asianet news in protest against a correspondent of the news channel reportedly making objectionable remarks to an anonymous person who called the news channel to complain about the channel’s alleged failure to provide adequate screen time to the violence that broke out in West Bengal after the assembly elections.

An audio clip purporting to be of the conversation between the channel’s correspondent and an anonymous caller was leaked on social media, following which irate BJP supporters cyber bullied the correspondent.

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