Habitual offender M Radhakrishnan does not belong in the Trivandrum Press Club: NWMI

Photo courtesy: Trivandrum Press Club website

M Radhakrishnan, accused in a 2019 case after he barged into the home of a woman journalist, assaulted her and traumatised both her and her children, now faces yet another grave complaint filed by a media woman.

This time the incident reportedly happened on a public road on 3 February 2024. According to the report that the Thiruvananthapuram Cantonment Police has filed before the court, Radhakrishnan spoke to the woman on the road using sexual innuendos and lewd gestures to harass her. When she reacted boldly to the harassment, he reportedly sped off. Nevertheless, she went ahead and reported the incident to the police and he has been charged under Section 354 A of the IPC, which specifically addresses sexual harassment.

Radhakrishnan, who is currently President of the Trivandrum Press Club, is already involved in court procedures as an accused in the earlier case of intruding into a woman colleague’s home and harassing as well as manhandling her in an attempt at moral policing. This incident, dating back to November 2019, took place when he was Secretary of the Press Club. The FIR filed against him at the Pettah police station refers to IPC Sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 451 (house-trespassing), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).

Following relentless protests from several conscientious journalists, including members of the NWMI, he was removed from his membership and position in the Trivandrum Press Club in December 2019. However, with the help of some of his supporters, he made a comeback in 2021 as the President of the same Press Club. Since then, he has won every annual election at the Press Club with overwhelming support. He is currently gearing up to face another election due in a few months.

Soon after his 2021 re-entry into the Press Club, this time as President, several women members left the club in protest. As a result, he and those who appear to see nothing wrong with his behaviour towards women have a free rein to run the Club as they wish to. However, the fact that such an individual continues to head a Press Club should be of concern to media persons who value professional standards and ethics, as well as members of the public who believe in the critical role of the Fourth Estate in a democracy.

Following the case filed in 2019, the management of Kerala Kaumudi, the newspaper where Radhakrishnan was then employed, dismissed him. He is the President of Trivandrum Press Club even though he is no longer working in a media organisation and is not actively practising journalism.

Despite the two specific cases against him, both involving harassment and assault, a section of the journalist community in Thiruvananthapuram continues to protect him and even honour him as the head of a Press Club.  His continuation in power tarnishes the credibility of the Club as well as of the Fourth Estate as a whole.

The Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI) urges those members of Trivandrum Press Club who believe in journalistic integrity to take a bold initiative to support and promote gender justice by ensuring that this accused person no longer occupies the President’s chair.

Meanwhile, the NWMI extends solidarity to the women who fearlessly went ahead with legal procedures against this habitual violator of women’s right to safety and security – in homes, workplaces and public places.  We salute their relentless efforts to secure justice.

Earlier statements by NWMI:

CPI Must Not Whitewash a Man Accused of Sexual Harassment: NWMI

NWMI Kerala chapter statement on M. Radhakrishnan

NWMI condemns candidature of sexual harassment case accused in Trivandrum Press Club Elections

The Network of Women in Media, India
7 March 2024

© 2024 Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI).

Original articles may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes with due credit to nwmindia.org

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