US media watchdog seeks probe into threats to Malayalam TV news anchor

Thursday, Mar 3, 2016,13:01 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Washington | A US media watchdog has called for an investigation into reports of a Malayalam television news anchor receiving thousands of threatening telephone calls.

Indian authorities should take all measures necessary to protect Sindhu Sooryakumar, Chief Co-ordinating Editor of Asianet News TV, in the face of the abhorrent threats against her, said Sumit Galhotra, Senior Research Associate of Committee to Protect Journalist Asia Program.

Journalists should feel free to raise questions and foster debate, including during times of controversy, without fear of reprisal, he said yesterday.

Sindhu Sooryakumar received thousands of threatening phone calls following a broadcast she hosted last week, in which she discussed a union minister’s comments regarding protesting JNU students.

Last Friday, she moderated a spirited discussion on a popular Malayalam TV news show on whether celebrating Mahishasur Jayanti could be considered an act of treason. Since then, Sindhu says she has received over 2,000 abusive calls on her cellphone, allegedly from activists and sympathisers of various pro-Hindutva groups, accusing her of calling Durga a “sex worker” during the show.

Sindhu had lodged a complaint against the threat, and cyber cell of Kerala Police had registered a case based on her complaint.