PCI censures Telugu daily for publishing defamatory stories

Hyderabad, April 5 (IANS) Admonishing and censuring a Telugu daily for carrying defamatory stories against several people, the Press Council of India (PCI) asked the authorities concerned to suspend giving it advertisements and consider suspending or cancelling its licence.

Dealing with as many as five complaints against “Andhra Jyothi”, PCI chairman Markandey Katju observed that the newspaper is habituated to practising “yellow journalism”.

He also directed that orders in respect of two cases be referred to concerned criminal courts for initiating defamatory proceedings against the Telugu daily. He also ordered that police investigate the defamatory activities of the newspaper.

The inquiry committee of the PCI heard 20 cases during its meeting here Friday.

“This case shows how some newspapers in this country are habitual of defaming people, even respected ladies, probably just to create sensationalism and increase their circulation,” Katju observed while passing orders on a complaint by S.L. Kameshwari, an assistant professor in a city college.

The complainant alleged that the newspaper published an item tarnishing her image, without carrying her version.

Katju said a copy of the order would be sent to Directorate of Advertisement and Visual Publicity (DAVP) to stop the advertisements to the newspaper and another copy to Registrar of Newspaper for India (RNI) to consider suspending or cancelling its license.

He also passed similar orders on a complaint by D.V.V. Ramakrishnamacharyulu.

“We have observed defamatory items against large number of people. We have been repeatedly saying that a person’s reputation is a valuable asset to him and it can’t be tarnished without any solid basis by making frivolous publication,” he said.

Katju excused himself from hearing a case against leading Telugu daily “Eenadu” saying he has accepted dinner invitation from its chief editor Ramoji Rao. The panel directed the daily to carry a rejoinder from YSR Congress party leader Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, who is in jail in alleged illegal assets case.

P.N.V. Prasad, state coordinator, YSR Congress party had lodged the complaint against ‘Eenadu’ for publishing a story that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) may once again question Jaganmohan Reddy in illegal mining case. The panel noted that the story was not found true as he was not questioned by the CBI.

The PCI also censured “Hi Bangalore” for carrying a defamatory story against Solabheshwarappa, assistant commissioner of police, Bangalore.

The panel also heard a complaint against Times of India, Hyderabad for carrying an item against IAS officer V. Usha Rani, commissioner and director of agriculture in Andhra Pradesh.

“You people don’t have journalistic ethics. Why have you published this without taking her version,” said Katju and directed the newspaper to publish her rejoinder prominently and express regret.

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