A report with effect to accusing Ravi Hegde, the Chief editor of Suvarna News and Kannada Prabha Newspaper of being caught in the sting operation carried out by the Cobra Post has been published by the Cobra Post website. Here is the response and clarification in this regard.
Cobra Post's report portraying Suvarna News and Kannada Prabha as a media organisation compromising its editorial code of conduct is vehemently being denied. Ravi Hegde, the Chief editor of Suvarna News and Kannada Prabha Newspaper allegedly caught in the 'deliberately twisted sting', presents the true picture to put things in the right perspective.
On October 11, 2017 at 5 Pm, a man named Acharya Chatrapal walked into office with a proposal to publish/telecast 15-minute advertisement-based programmes on Lord Krishna and Bhagavad Gita, sans any controversial content as elaborated by him. The programme consisted of one of the popular seers from Uttar Pradesh, who will give sermons. "No boundaries will be crossed," (In his words, the Lakshman Rekha will not be violated). He asked the channel to telecast this as an advertisement. He also sought the channel’s help to cover the on-ground programme slated to be held in Bengaluru on Bhagavad Gita. Considering that the media house is replete with similar programmes in the morning, the Chief Editor of Suvarna-Kannada Prabha had said that telecasting similar programmes may not be worthwhile, but providing support in terms of publicity can be considered. The Cobra Post has clearly edited the parts of the conversation only to mislead to suit the convenient side of their version. In fact, the entire video does not even mention Acharya's visit seeking a slot for advertisements. Thus, the intention behind Cobra Post's modified presentation only to throw negativity on a reputed media house is vividly evident.
In fact, the organisation clearly specified to him the guidelines of editorial policies that must be adhered to. And that there are no two ways of looking at it. Even the Cobra Post video mentions how the higher officials from the advertisement section had reiterated on support being provided only on matters that fall under the editorial policy. But the Cobra Post has not considered this. When he forced the channel to telecast/publish more reports on Hindutva, Ravi Hegde said, “What we have covered so far have already earned us the tag of being pro-Hindu and pro-BJP. Sometimes even leaders of Congress and the opposition parties refuse to take part in the discussions of the channel. So, we don’t want to do it as it may further fuel the tag." But the Cobra Post has manipulated the video. It has dubbed the words “We don’t do it” to “We couldn’t do it”, adding a malicious twist to the entire credibility earned with great hard work on ground.
LETTER OF AJITH HANUMAKKANAVAR
Ravi Hegde analysed the internal squabbles within the BJP camp many a time on the panel discussions during prime time. When Acharya asked about the situation in Karnataka, Ravi Hegde said that the fights within BJP have led to the formation of unpopular opinions about the party. This is definitely not a secret let out. Even other media too had this covered. Suvarna's in-depth, clear-cut analysis about every party and their leaders is an established fact.
However, take note:
The man who visited the office, under the garb of finding advertorial slots, attempted to bribe the channel with big-budget advertisements if strong pro-Hindutva reports were carried while slamming the rest of the parties. His consistent stress on Hindutva, elections and organization prompted Ravi Hegde to garner suspicion and thereby probed more into his background and the motive. His intent in disrupting communal harmony during elections surfaced. Ravi Hegde promptly directed experienced journalists of Suvarna, Ajith Hanumakkanavar and Vijayalakshmi Shibaroor to be ready to conduct a sting operation. He even sent an email to keep everything on record, according to the policy of the company. Acharya Chatrapal, sensing trouble, wriggled away under the pretext of another urgent meeting.
Here is the screenshot of the email and one can notice the date and time on it. It was an instant action.
As the issue was sensitive, Suvarna News and Kannada Prabha, the very next day, i.e. October 12, 2017, filed a complaint at the High Grounds Police Station in Bengaluru against the man who had introduced himself as Acharya Chatrapal. The complaint lists out how a sting operation was planned to expose the man's intentions of spoiling communal harmony, all the while urging the police to arrest him with stringent action to be applied too. Here are the copies of the complaint filed with the police and the receipt of the cop accepting the same.
Following this complaint, the man answered a phone call by the Suvarna office and said that he would come at 11 AM, and later rescheduled to 12 PM, 2.30 PM, but never turned up. Wasting no time, an article was published in Kannada Prabha, detailing every move of this man. The article was published under the title: “Uttara Pradesha madari BJP Chunavana Tantragarike?” (BJP’s election strategy in the Uttar Pradesh model?).
Suvarna News and Kannada Prabha, as a responsible media organisation, can either reject the offer and keep quiet. Or, can plan a sting operation and expose the hidden agenda. And when all fails, can file a case against him in the police station and publish a report. Suvarna and Kannada Prabha have its moral and editorial ethics in place.
To further add to the editorial approach, neither Suvarna nor Kannada Prabha sent Acharya any proposal once his actions raised suspicion.
Legal action against Cobra Post has been initiated too. Suvarna News and Kannada Prabha are working with a straight, bold and relentless attitude for over 10 years and 50 years respectively. The message is clear. Priority: Kannadigas. The fight will go on and the legal battle will not stop until the case reaches its logical end. The Bengaluru court has already ordered a temporary stay on the malicious report of the Cobra Post. The media organisation knows where its integrity stands. Straight. Bold. Relentless.