Trivendrum: Malayalam News Channel Mangalam TV is staring at licence cancellation as Judge PS Antony, who had looked into the honey-trap sting operation scandal, had submitted its report two-part, 405-page report to the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday. The commission has recommended the cancellation of the channel’s licence and prosecution of its CEO.
Subsequently, the state Cabinet on Wednesday accepted the recommendations of a judicial commission that looked into a scandal concerning the honey-trap sting operation carried out by a Malayalam TV channel against former Minister AK Saseendran of the NCP.
Pinarayi said that a secretary-level committee would look into the 16 recommendations the commission had made and follow-up action would be taken as per its report.
Elathur MLA Saseendran was forced to resigned as Transport minister after Mangalam TV, within minutes of its launch on 26th March, aired the controversial audio-clip in which he was heard making lewd and obscene comments to a young woman over the phone.
The channel later admitted that Saseendran was the victim of a sting operation mounted against him by its “investigative team” and that it had used a young woman employee for honey-trapping him. This had led to the arrest of several channel employees including its chief executive officer and senior journalists.
The judicial commission has not been able to establish the truth about this as it had failed to get the original, unedited tape containing the full conversation between him and the woman and to prove that the voice in the telecast audio clip was that of the former minister himself, effectively leading to the exoneration of the NCP leader –merely – on technical grounds.
The main recommendations of the judicial commission are that steps could be initiated to cancel the licence of Mangalam TV, prosecuting its CEO R Ajith Kumar, send a copy of its report to the Press Council of India for taking required action and formulate a code of conduct for State Ministers for interacting with the media.
The commission recommended to the State Government that it could ask the Central Government to formulate legislation on the lines of the one that existed in the UK for controlling electronic media by amending the existing Indian Acts as the country presently did not have an effective legislation in this regard.