Kerala’s journalist union leaders and Press Clubs face Vigilance probe for financial frauds

As per the RTI replies given from the Information and Public Relations Department, Government of Kerala, Press Clubs have not submitted the utilization certificates amounting to more than Rupees Two Crores for the last seven years.

As per the RTI replies given from the Information and Public Relations Department, Government of Kerala, Press Clubs have not submitted the utilization certificates amounting to more than Rupees Two Crores for the last seven years.
Kerala’s journalist union leaders and Press Clubs face Vigilance probe for financial frauds

Many journalists accuse their union leaders of “selling their soul” to the Government or ruling parties from time to time by accepting such bonanza and surrender to hush-up the financial frauds.

Kerala’s journalist union – Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) and Press Clubs across the districts of Kerala and their Delhi unit are now under the radar of the State Vigilance Department for gross mis-utilisation of funds received of funds from Government. Though preach on morality in a big way, it is an open secret that the Union and Press Clubs had no qualm in accepting funds from the state governments on many occasions.

Predictably, the journalists and their unions suspect that this is an attempt to muzzle them and press freedom. The latest is the summoning by Vigilance and Police Department of the journalist union leaders and Press Club office bearers in Thiruvanathapuram for explaining the complaints of misuse of funds accepted from the Government. It must be remembered that these complaints originated from the journalist fraternity itself.

Kerala Government even allowed huge concession to 100s of journalists by giving homes at cheap price.

The recent answer given under the Right to Information Act (RTI) shows that many Press Clubs in many districts of Kerala and Delhi Unit of KYWJ accepted lakhs of rupees from the state government in the past decades.

As per the RTI replies given from the Information and Public Relations Department, Government of Kerala, Press Clubs have not submitted the utilization certificates amounting to more than Rupees 2 crores for the last seven years. As per the RTI replies, the defaulters and the amount are as follows – Thiruvananthapuram Press Club – Rs.30 lakhs, Kesari Memorial Trust, Thiruvananthapuram – Rs.25 lakhs, Kollam Press Club- Rs.15 lakhs, Malappuram Press Club – Rs.15 lakhs, Alappuzha Press Club – Rs.15 lakhs, New Delhi KUWJ unit – Rs.25 lakhs, Kannur Press Club- Rs.10 lakhs, Kozhikode Press Club- Rs.25 lakhs, Thrissur Press Club – Rs.5 lakhs. These funds were given by both Congress and the Left regimes of Kerala.

The interesting thing is that Kerala Government during the Left regime in 2010, granted Rs.25 lakhs to Press Club if India in Delhi too. Why? The answer is simple – The Kerala Government (Read ruling parties) wanted a friendly atmosphere with the journalist fraternity. They even allowed huge concessions to 100s of journalists by giving homes at cheap prices. More than Rs.20 crores dues to Government was waived off in a soft approach to journalists.[1] By this bonanza, literally paying a small amount, journalists’ bagged flats due to the favoritism of the State to the press fraternity.

Now, the Journalist Union and Press office bearers are facing heat from Vigilance and Police Departments for fund misuse. The agencies started summoning journalist union leaders and allegations stated that the Government is trying to muzzle the press freedom. Many journalists accuse their union leaders of “selling their soul” to the Government or ruling parties from time to time by accepting such bonanza and surrender to hush-up the financial frauds.

References:

[1] 54 Kerala journalists default on payment of Rs 19.37 crore to govt for houses, seek waiverJuly 15, 2012, Indian Express

2 COMMENTS

  1. Across India, many state governments, Central Government also (now not) pampered journalist fraternity by offering pension, home, land plots etc. Mualayam Singh Yadav used to allot money too. Many senior journalists in Delhi and Lucknow were named in that list which was released by opposition parties in mid 90s.

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