Special police team to crack down on fake news

Bid to eclipse achievements of LDF government: CM


Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday said the State government had constituted a special police team to act against those who create and propagate fake news. Additional Director General of Police Manoj Abraham would head it.

The Chief Minister slammed a “prominent” Malayalam newspaper for resorting to malicious gossip without verifying facts. He said the newspaper had said in a front-page report that LIFE Mission had paid a bribe to the gold smuggling case accused to secure housing aid from the UAE Red Crescent. It insinuated the son of a Minister was also a beneficiary.

Mr. Vijayan said journalism was not spreading malicious gossip without fact-checking. “Some persons had said that they would rather hang themselves to death than watch Communists come to power in Kerala. Well, it has happened several times over. Now is the time to shed old prejudices and be truthful to journalistic values,” he added.

Inaugurating the Konni Government Medical College Hospital via videoconferencing earlier, Mr. Vijayan said people chose governments by weighing how the administration had impacted their lives over five years. A day’s news cycle of rumour-mongering against the government would not shift the electoral choices of the people.

He slammed efforts by “persons with a particular mindset” and their media allies to discredit the LIFE Mission project, which had provided modern housing to 2,26,000 homeless and landless indigent families.

He said powers were trying, in vain, to eclipse the achievements of the LDF government by attempting to lay down a smokescreen of lies.

Chennithala counters

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala countered Mr. Vijayan stating that the Chief Minister was “holding an umbrella” to corruption inside LIFE Mission. He said the government had turned a deaf year to his repeated demands for a copy of the MOU signed by LIFE Mission with the UAE Red Crescent.

Mr. Chennithala also demanded an answer from the State Protocol Officer about how the UAE consulate here could import 17,000 tonnes of dates without the prior clearance or approval of the Central or State government.

He alleged that the date import was a cover for gold smuggling. He asked Mr. Vijayan to reveal whether Industries Minister E.P. Jayarajan’s son had partnered with the gold case smuggling accused in various deals involving government agencies.