Accusing the media of exercising “permissiveness” the Karnataka government is planning to curb the press freedom in the state with forming a house committee to ensure that the media functions “within its limits.”
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Speaker on Wednesday announced that a House committee would be formed soon to restrict the “permissiveness” of the media, which came in the line of fire from members of all parties inside the house, during the debate initiated by senior member B R Patil of the Karnataka Janatha Paksha.
Cutting across party lines, legislators said the media was telecasting reports that “are derogatory in nature” and tarnishing the image of legislators.
They MLAs also alleged media for narrating personal “bitter” incidents with the media. A member reportedly used objectionable words against mediapersons, which was expunged by the Speaker K B Koliwad.
Speaking at the end of the over four hour long debate, Koliwad said it was the collective opinion of the House is to form a committee.
Legislature has a long arm. It has powers. It is a collective opinion of this House that a House committee should be formed. We will give it 15 days time. Once it submits its report, based on the recommendations, we will decide whether any law is to be amended or a new law should be brought in so that the media functions within its limitsK B Koliwad, Speaker
Even as the Speaker was making his remarks, Higher Education Minister Basavaraj Raya Reddy suggested that legal aspects be looked into before forming the House Committee and deciding its terms of reference.
He said freedom of speech and expression is a fundamental right and that members should see to it that they do not do anything that is against the Constitution.
Clarifying, Koliwad said the House committee would also function within the ambit of the Constitution.
“We are aware of freedom of speech and press freedom, but it should not be freedom of permissiveness. With an intention to contain this permissiveness we are forming a House committee. Terms and references for the committee and its form will be decided shortly,” the speaker added.