Varsity cautions campus journals against defamatory contents

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Malappuram (Ker), Jul 14: Close on the heels of some campus journals in Kerala triggering controversy by featuring Prime Minister Narendra Modi in poor light, a university in the state has issued guidelines to college principals to ensure that no defamatory content, pictures and cartoons are carried by college magazines.

The CPI-M's students wing SFI resented the order and held that it would be rejected by student community since as it amounted to infringement on freedom of expression. In a recent circular sent to principals affiliated under it, the Calicut University said defamation of national leaders and well-known personalities in the name of freedom of expression cannot be tolerated.

"It cannot be permitted to tarnish anybody in the name of freedom of expression and creativity. Principals should convey this message to students, teachers and magazine committee members," the order said.

It said the editor of the college magazine should submit a declaration that there was no content in it that would adversely affect the national integrity and communal harmony of the country or tarnish the the image of national leaders, university officials said.

The magazine proof should be kept at the college office and its gist should be certified by the staff editor before publication, the order said. SFI state president Shiju Khan said this kind of a "gag order" cannot be justified under any circumstances.

"This is not only an infringement on the freedom of expression but also betrays the autocratic mindset of the university authorities," Shiju Khan told PTI.

Police last month registered a case against student editors of the magazine of Guruvayur Sree Krishna college in Thrissur district for using "objectionable and unsavoury" language against Modi.

They had been charged under various sections of the IPC including 153 (wantonly giving provocation, defamation and printing matter known to be defamatory).

Also, the principal and some students of a polytechnic at Kunnamkulam were charged under similar sections for featuring Modi in the campus magazine in the list of "negative faces" along with Adolf Hitler, Osama bin Laden, George Bush and a few others.

PTI

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