Kerala Sleaze Audio Clip Issue: TV Channel CEO, 8 Others Booked

Some bemoaned a breach of ethical journalism, but others said all media houses had done such stories earlier.

A top executive and eight employees of a private Malayalam TV channel were on Friday booked in connection with the airing of alleged sleaze talk involving a Kerala Minister, who quit over the issue, police said.

The FIR has been registered against nine persons, including 'Mangalam' channel's CEO and Managing Director R Ajit Kumar, on a complaint by the youth wing of Nationalist Congress Party for airing "obscene conversation", they said.

Making its debut, the channel had on 26 March aired the audio clip of the purported talk of Transport Minister A K Saseendran, NCP representative in the LDF cabinet, with a woman, following which he had resigned the same day.

Also Read: Kerala Minister Faces Probe Into Sexual Misconduct Charges

In a twist to the episode, the channel had yesterday tendered an apology for airing the contents and admitted that it was a “sting operation” involving one of their women journalists and not a housewife, as it had claimed earlier.

In the complaint, the Nationalist Youth Congress (NYC) has accused the channel of having misused electronic media and airing "obscene conversation".

Police said the FIR had been registered under sections of IT Act and Indian Penal Code.

NYC also filed a complaint before the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) against Mangalam channel, alleging it had violated rules under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act and had no right to function.

Also Read: Media Divided After Alleged Lewd Chat of Kerala Min Aired on TV

NYC state unit president Mujeeb Rahuman stated that the content of the conversation the channel had aired was "inappropriate" to viewers, including children.

“The contents of the said conversation were obscene and vulgar and the channel aired it after completely knowing the said fact,” the complaint said. Mangalam had violated the programme code and “does not qualify to continue as channel”, it contended.

The state government had yesterday ordered a probe by a special investigation team into the alleged sleaze talk incident.

It had earlier announced a judicial inquiry by a former district judge.

Saseendran had said his resignation should not be seen as an acceptance of guilt and it was to uphold "political morality".

Also Read: After ‘Sting’ on Ex-Kerala Min, Life’s Tough for Women Journalists

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