Several journalists protested in front of the deputy commissioner's office in Mangalore on Thursday, Nov 8. Arrest of Naveen has been termed as "attack on freedom of press". Journalists said that Soorinje was arrested because he exposed how communal goons had carried out the attack with the active collaboration of the city police.
A memorandum was submitted to the district commissioner NS Chennappa Gowda. Addressing the gathering, Taranath Kapikad of Janshree media claimed that police intentionally arrested Soorinje mainly to get rid of an eyewitness to the incident.
"The state government should soon intervene in the matter and take appropriate action," he urged.
Kapikad further said that a reporter's job is only to do his work and not work as an informer to the police. "It is the responsibility of the police to find out about such incidents," he said.
Pushparaj Jain, bureau chief of Vartha Bharathi said that the arrest was made for no reason by the police. "The arrest is against the principles of freedom of expression. The case against Naveen Soorinje should be withdrawn immediately," he added.
PB Harish, president of district working journalists' union, said, "Police have registered a case against a reporter who went to report the home stay attack. They have even filed an FIR and produced him in court and remanded him in judicial custody. It is just not fair."
"I have spoken to Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, district incharge minister CT Ravi and JD(S) state President HD Kumaraswamy on this issue. The reporter who went to perform his duty is being prosecuted, which is not right," he added.
"At the time of the home stay incident, cases were filed against journalists and when the journalists' union took up the issue, we were assured of a positive response and even a committee was formed with both journalists and police officials.
However, the police have failed to keep up their word. The journalists' union condemns this action and demands re-investigation of the case," he said.