Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s media advisor John Brittas is learnt to have started a media campaign to hard-sell his embattled boss in the national media who is facing public outrage at home over the poor handling of the Sabarimala imbroglio.
The general refrain is that Vijayan’s aborted bid to take controversial non-Hindu, non-believing, controversial activists to Sabarimala and his recalcitrant attitude had precipitated the crisis. There is a feeling among devotees that the chief minister and his advisor are conspiring to destroy Sabarimala. Despite LDF government’s best efforts, no Hindu woman in the age group of 10-50 years has turned up at the hill shrine. Upset over this, the Stalinist chief minister launched a massive crackdown on devotees who were resisting violation of the age-old tradition. So far about 2050 devotees have been arrested and non-bailable sections imposed on them violating their basic human rights.
“In the coming days, you will see more of Vijayan’s interviews in national media outlets. It’s learnt that Brittas is planning to take a few mediapersons in the national capital to Thiruvananthapuram to interview Vijayan. Already, The Indian Express has carried a detailed one,” said a journalist who is privy to the information.
Brittas should be credited for ‘managing’ the national English media exceptionally well for his boss. Despite Vijayan’s monumental failures (man-made disaster of flood, political murders, etc.), Brittas has managed to steer his boss clear of bad publicity, thanks to the support from former SFI and CPI(M) activists who are now occupying positions of power in various national media organisations. Even journalists practicing ‘Journalism of Courage’ did not see anything amiss with Vijayan’s rule.
A journalist told Indus Scrolls that immediately after LDF government taking charge, the CEO of a leading media group, which has an edition in the state, was summoned to Kerala House in Delhi by the chief minister and asked to fall in line if it wanted to survive in the state. Keeping the paper’s commercial interests in mind, the management chose to play it safe, it seems.
Besides his long experience in Delhi as the bureau chief of Deshabhimani, the CPI(M) mouthpiece, Brittas has a comrade-in-arms, a top editor, whose brother was made Standing Counsel for Kerala state in Supreme Court by Pinarayi. The editor has long association with the Left; he was a top SFI leader during his college days in Kerala. This journalist sees to it that Vijayan’s failures are properly covered-up (as in the case of Soumya murder case in SC).
“The Indian Express Chief Editor Raj Kamal Jha gave a wonderful speech at Ramnath Goenka Awards for Excellence in Journalism before Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which gave orgasmic pleasure to the Left-liberal crowd. The main takeaway of the speech was – ‘criticism from a government is a badge of honour’. But now, it seems, approbation from Pinarayi government is also a ‘badge of honour’ when it comes to Kerala,” said the journalist who was quoted earlier.
While the paper gave massive coverage to the arrest of a few Urban Naxals in Maharashtra with screaming headlines on the front page, the paper has completely blacked out the news about the arrest of more than 2000 hapless Ayyappa devotees. The indiscriminate arrests had evoked sharp criticism from the Kerala High Court which warned the CPM government of serious consequences. However, even this news fail to make it to the national media headlines.