News Karnataka
Saturday, April 13 2024

Journalists’ to undergo jail term as Assembly rejects their appeal

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Bengaluru: The Karnataka Legislative Assembly on Tuesday rejected a motion seeking reconsideration of its sentence to two editors of Kannada tabloids, to one year in jail for breach of privilege over their alleged defamatory articles against state legislators.

A resolution to reconsider the punishment and a fine of Rs 10,000 each on Ravi Belagere, Editor of ‘Hi Bangalore’, and Anil Raju, Editor of ‘Yelahanka Voice’ in connection with the publication of the articles was rejected by a voice vote.

The June 21 Assembly resolution punishing both the journalists, based on the recommendations of the Privileges Committee of the House, had led to protests from the media.

The Editors’ Guild of India termed it a “gross misuse” of power which “violates” the fundamental right of freedom of speech.

Contending that the resolution was illegal and unconstitutional, the two journalists had sought its quashing by the High Court, which had advised finding an amicable solution to the controversy.

Subsequently, the High Court disposed the petitions after the journalists said they would appear before the Speaker and seek revision of the resolution.

Following this, the two editors had visited the Speaker’s office seeking review, and also submitted their arguments and representations through their advocates.

Based on representations made by the two editors, the Speaker Koliwad on Tuesday placed their plea for reconsideration before the House.

Initiating the discussion, BJP’s S R Vishwanath, who had complained against Anil Raju for allegedly writing defamatory articles against him said, their plea for reconsideration has to be rejected outright.

He said “despite privilege being moved against him, he (Raju) continued to write against me. They should have been punished by now. Instead their punishment should be increased.”

MLAs cutting across party lines like S R Mahesh (JDS), Ashok Pattan, G S Srinivas, Vijayananad Kashappanavar and Lobo, (all Congress) and B R Patil (Others) supported Vishwanath’s demand.

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