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Thursday, August 23, 2012

151 - IIT-M apologises, but still defiant - The Hindu


IIT-Madras apologised to the photo-journalist who was assaulted while he was on the campus on Tuesday for coverage of the suicide. “IIT-Madras regrets this unfortunate incident and apologizes to the concerned photo-journalist and the media at large.  We hope to enjoy cordial relationships with the media as in the past,” the institution’s director Bhaskar Ramamurthi said in a statement.

At the same time, he alleged the “unfortunate altercation” followed the photo-journalist insisting on “continuing to take close-up photographs of grieving girl students in gross violation of Press Council of India norms.” He urged the media to reflect on the “ethical dimensions” of the conduct of the photo-journalist in the context of the student’s demise.

However, the photographer who was assaulted, Albin Mathew, said he had obtained permission from the dean of students to take pictures. It was because he had refused to delete the pictures that he was assaulted. The professor called security guards to hold him while he punched him on his face and tried to take his camera away. The photographer decided to press charges.

 In a later development, IIT-Madras issued an elaborate statement alleging that the photographer had taken “objectionable” close-up pictures of grieving women students, a charge that Mr. Mathew denied. IIT-Madras claimed that the photographer had punched the chairman of council of wardens, an allegation that was not made earlier. 

On Wednesday morning, a large number of reporters from both the print and visual media staged a demonstration in Sembakkam near Tambaram, protesting the assault.

The Tamil Nadu Press Photographers’ Association has demanded that the institute takes stern action against those involved in the attack.  Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) general secretary Vaiko demanded police action.