Kochi, March 18 (PTI) Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday urged the media organisations to protect secularism and pluralism of the country and expressed hope that the fourth estate would raise its voice against the attack on federalism.
Inaugurating the valedictory ceremony of the centenary celebrations of Malayalam daily "Mathrubhumi", Vijayan said imposing a particular language or a religion is against the pluralism of the country.
"India is known for its pluralism and we need to protect it. However, imposing a language or a religion is against pluralism. If only one language is promoted, then how can our Malayalam language stay alive? If Malayalam is not there, then the Malayalam media will not have any relevance. Hence the media should protect pluralism for their own survivability," he said.
The Left leader opined that one cannot protect secularism by cradling any particular type of communalism.
"Those who believe in religions and those who do not have equal rights. Media should ensure that freedom is there. You cannot protect secularism by cradling a particular type of communalism. In order to protect and safeguard secularism, all sorts of communalism should be exposed." Addressing the gathering, Vijayan asked media not to remain silent when the federal system of the country was under attack.
In his speech, Information and Broadcasting Minister, Anurag Thakur came down on the Congress party for dismissing the Left government of Kerala in 1959. "Unable to tolerate the fact that the people of Kerala had not voted the ruling party to power, the Government of the time invoked Article 356 of the newly-minted Constitution of India to sack the Left government. The Congress got away with impunity. It was the first gross misuse of the Constitution", he said.
Thakur also alleged that the Congress government had 'abused' Article 356 to dismiss 93 state governments, striking blow after blow to democracy in India, pulping political diversity and making political differences a punishable offence.
Hitting back, senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, V D Satheesan alleged that the BJP-led union government was curbing media freedom, undermining the country's democracy and it was standing still before the "guns of the ruling dispensation and the fascist forces." He said he would like to offer the Union Minister's statement on media freedom as flowers at the grave of slain journalists including Gowri Lankesh. PTI RRT RRT ROH