Media offices attcked: IPI calls for strong action

Vienna: The International Press Institute on Thursday strongly condemned the attack on the office and staff of Malayam Manorama and The Week magazine in Mumbai allegedly by Shiva Sena activists and urged Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Union Home Minister P Chidambaram to take strong action againt the perpetrators.

"We strongly condemn this violence against The Week`s premises and staff," IPI Acting Deputy Director Anthony Mills said.

"We urge the authorities to launch a swift, professional investigation, to hold the perpetrators accountable, and in doing so to send a strong message that this kind of brazen attack against the media will not be tolerated, especially in a democratic society," he said.

The letter to the Maharashtra Chief Minister and the Union Home Minister sought "immediate and effective action" against the perpetrator of the attack on the media.

"IPI strongly condemns this brutal attack on a media organisation and its employees and calls on the authorities to take immediate and effective action against the perpetrator," it said.

Thirty-two people were arrested for allegedly vandalising the office of `The Week` news magazine and injuring three employees, Mumbai Police said. Three senior employees of the weekly magazine of Malayala Manorama Group of Publications were manhandled by the protesters, they said.

In a press statement, the Malayala Manorama group said that "they (protesters) went to the cabin of Geogi Eapen Zachariah, Deputy general manager, Sales. Under the pretext of holding discussions, they began abusing Zachariah. When Zachariah tried to reason with them, he was slapped and kicked repeatedly by around seven of these activists who also snatched his phone. They also damaged the landline telephone connection inside Zachariah`s cabin".

"The mob also manhandled Shree Kumar Menon and Varghese Chandy, both senior general managers of Malayala Manorama group when they tried to reason with the mob to pacify them, and verbally abused the entire staff," the press note stated.