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INDIA: MLA files complaint against TV channel

A member of the Legislative Assembly alleges video footage of her was fabricated to defame her

The Times of India
Friday, June 20, 2008

By Ananthakrishnan G

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM --- The faction-ridden Kerala CPM can't seem to stay out of controversies. The latest involves pictures aired by the party-backed TV channel showing an MLA being groped by a CPM district leader even as the state Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan inaugurated a new bridge.

State party bosses tried to hush up the incident after the pictures were telecast in April. The programme on Kairali TV called Sakshi was also taken off air. But the controversy resurfaced after the CPM MLA went to the police with a complaint against the channel.

The MLA who represents a constituency in Kozhikode district, has alleged that the photos and video were fabricated and spread with the intent of maligning her.

Photographs relate to the inauguration of the Meppayur bridge by Achuthanandan. Video clips of the event being aired now by other channels show a member of the CPM Kozhikode district committee with his hands on the woman MLA as the CM prepares to cut the ribbon. She is then seen struggling to ward him off.

IG cyber crimes cell Loknath Behera told TOI that the police faced a problem in the probe as digital versions of the pictures were not available any more. "We are trying to locate the digital part. Only then can we say if it is morphed or not," he said.

Kairali TV MD John Britas denied the channel was involved in any tampering. "There is no manipulation from our part. The programme is produced by a private television house called NTV . We only air it."

NTV MD Leen B Jesmas said he had received the photographs via email.

"We did not know that the lady in it was an MLA. So we went ahead and included it in the episode. We thought if there was anything against any party member, the channel would cut it out during preview. But the pictures were broadcast with her face masked," said Leen.

Date Posted: 6/20/2008

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