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Karnataka assembly speaker sentences journalists to jail for 'defaming' legislators


The speaker of Karnataka assembly and senior Congress leader K B Koliwad has sentenced two journalists to a year in jail. Scribes of Kannada tabloids including noted journalist Ravi Belagere were sentenced for allegedly writing defamatory articles against legislators.

Speaker Koliwad announced in the House on Wednesday that the panel had decided to punish the journalists by the assembly. "The State Assembly has decided to punish the two journalists of Kannada tabloids for publishing defamatory articles against legislators." A fine of Rs 10,000 has also been imposed on each of them after the speaker approved the recommendation of the privilege committee.

Karnataka assembly speaker sentences journalists to jail for 'defaming' legislators

The committee had recommended the jail term as well as the fine on editors of tabloids 'Hi Bangalore' and 'Yelahanka Voice'. The sentence also says that if the editors fail to pay the fine, their jail term would be extended by another six months. The tabloids are being punished for writing articles criticising legislators including Koliwad.

Taking note of the article which was published in September 2014, the Privileges Committee of the Assembly deemed them defamatory in nature. It recommended jail for Belagere and Anil Raju of 'Yelahanka Voice' for publishing articles against legislators, including Koliwad. The article against Koliwad was published in the September 2014 issue of 'Hi Bangalore.'

What caught the eye was how Koliwad himself had raised the issue and lodged a complaint against Ravi Belagere. The complaint was later referred to the privileges committee by then Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa. Other legislators who deemed the articles defamatory were BM Nagaraju and SR Viswanath from Congress and BJP. Nagaraju had accused one of the editors of not appearing before the committee despite being summoned.

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