A Joint Press Statement of Political and Social Leaders, Human Rights Activists, Writers and Journalists
India is a Democratic Republic. To express one’s opinions freely and without
fear is one of the basic rights accorded to its citizens in the Constitution itself.
This right is fundamental to all citizens of India including Press and Media people. In this context, we the undersigned who have faith in the efficacy of the lofty ideal of secularism and ardently advocate it, vehemently condemn the forces of religious bigotry for their insistence on dismissing and removing the Political Analyst of Sun TV Mr. Thiru.Veerapandian from his post and position for his alleged speeches against religious fundamentalism. We would like to point out that this is an action which is very much against the ideals of secularism and the fundamental rights of expression.
A few weeks ago Mr. Veerapandian participated in a meeting in Chennai
wherein a Human Rights organization released its fact finding report on the
Muzaffar Nagar riots. While speaking on the occasion Mr. Veerapandian has made certain critical remarks on BJP and its Prime Ministerial Candidate Mr. Narendera Modi. Some persons have uploaded his speech in the social media.
In the aftermath of this, Mr. Sarvothaman, BJP’s State Office Secretary, had
written a letter to the MD of Sun TV Group on 23rd December. In it he has stated that Mr Veerapandian’s speech was divisive and could create problems between two groups, and his programs on Sun TV has never been impartial and has requested that action be taken against him. He has also mentioned that no BJP representative would participate in any future programme compared by him. An article has also been published in Vijaya Bharatam magazine, criticizing and threatening Mr Veerapandiyan. We also learn that the right wing elements who have threatened Mr. Veerapandian with dire consequences in the social media have forgetting their own hawkish attitude lodged a complaint against him with the Commissioner of Greater Chennai Police.
Consequently from the last Saturday, Sun TV has stopped telecasting Mr.
Veerapandian’s programmes. We, who have full faith in democratic values are very much pained and worried by these events.
We think that this is a personal attack of the BJP on Mr Veerapandian of Sun TV who has been conducting the TV’s popular political talk show for the past seventeen years in a fair manner, without fear or favour. Mr Veerapandian has a right to have his own opinion about things relating to the affairs of the country. None can deny that. But we all know that he has been careful enough that he never allowed his opinions to stain the color of truth in his programmes. They were always impartial and unprejudiced.
The ethics of the media demand that a media person should be impartial while discharging his duties as an anchor. However this does not mean that he or she should not have any personal opinion or political leanings of his or her own. Whatever rights a common citizen of India could enjoy, a media person also is entitled to enjoy.
The Sun TV has been giving space to the opinions of all kinds of people and all
kinds of political views through its myriad programs. We request the Sun TV should allow him to resume his duties as an anchor person and telecast programmes featuring him and uphold the freedom of expression.
We also insist that all press and media people should come forward to condemn the threatening moves by politico-religious bigots to the media in future, as such biased demands will be anti-constitutional, and ruinous to our time-honored secularism enshrined in our Constitution.
Mr. K. Veeramani
President, Dravidar Kazhagam
Mr. Gnanadesigan, State President, TNCC
Dr. M. Sudarsana Nachiyappan
Hon’ble Minister of State for Commerce and Industry
Mr. S. Peter Alphonse
Former Member of Parliament
Mr. Tha. Pandian
State Secretary, CPI
Mr. Thol. Thirumavalavan MP
President, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi
Dr. M.H. Jawahirullah MLA
Legislative Party Leader, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi
Mr. J.S. Rifayee
President , Tamilnadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam
Prof. K. M. Kader Mohideen Ex. MP
General Secretary, Indian Union Muslim League
Mr. Abdul Rahman
Member of Parliament, Vellore Constituency
Mr. Senthamilan. Seeman
Chief Coordinator, Naam Thamizhar Katchi
Mr. Viduthalai Rajendran
General Secretary, Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam
Kovai Ku. Ramakritinan
General Secretary, Thanthai Periyar Thi.Ka
Prof. Suba. Veerapandian
President, Dravida Iyakka Thamilar Peravai
Dr. Peter Fernando, Archbishop of Madurai
Dr. Devasagayam, Bishop CSI, Chennai
Dr.M. Ezra Sargunam, Bishop
Evangelical Church of India
Founder, Indhiya Samuga Neethi Iyakkam
Mr. Pe. Maniyarasan
President, Tamildesa Podhu Udamai Katchi
Kaviko Abdul Rahman, Poet & Writer
Mr. Gnani, Writer & Journalist
Mr. Henri Thiphange, Executive Director, Peoples’ Watch
Dr. V. Suresh
National General Secretary, People’s Union for Civil Liberties
Prof. A. Marx, Human Right Activist
Kavingnar Manushya Puthiran, Writer, Publisher
Mr. Tamil Selvan, State Secretary, Progressive Writers & Artist Association
Mr. A. Kumaresan, Cheif Editor, Theekhadir
Mr. Ko. Sugumaran, Federation for People’s Rights – FPR (Makkal Urimai Kootamaippu)
Mr. TSS Mani, Journalist
Mr. Thirumurugan Gandhi, Coordinator, May 17 Movement
Mr. Senthil, Coordinator, Save Tamils Movement