- A Malayalam television channel released an audio clipping of ex-transport minister AK Saseendran
- The audio clips were sexual in nature and results in a massive scandal
- As soon as the scandal broke out, Saseendran resigned on moral grounds.
Prominent writers, cultural leaders and journalists in Kerala have sought a comprehensive probe into the airing of an alleged sleaze talk involving former minister A K Saseendran by a channel, saying it is gross violation of the law and journalistic norms.
In a statement, they condemned the release of an audio clipping by a private television channel, containing a purported telephonic conversation of former Transport Minister Saseendran speaking in sexual undertones to a woman.
"It is nothing but a case of voyeurism that infringed the privacy of an individual and is in gross violation of the law and all norms of journalistic ethics," they said.
The statement was signed by veteran journalists T.J.S. George, B.R.P. Bhaskar, T.V.R. Shenoy, Sashikumar, S. Jayachandran Nair, N.R.S. Babu and Sebastian Paul; Writers Sugathakumari, Sara Joseph, Anand, Sachidanandan, M. Mukundan, Zacharia, N.S. Madhavan, C. Radhakrishnan, Asha Menon and Gracy, K.R. Meera, C.V. Balakrishnan; Scholars and activists M.G.S. Narayanan, M.K. Sanoo, B. Rajeevan, K. Venu, M.N. Karassery and Sunil P. Elayidom.
"By airing such a news report, the channel has questioned the already vulnerable Malayali public consciousness," the statement said.
"The channel not only did not show the decency so essential when airing such a programme to a general viewership including underaged children, but also gave up the principles of objectivity and commitment to truth that should be the hallmark of each news report," it said.
The signatories wondered what was the public interest in the conversation between two individuals and pointed out that the channel has so far not revealed who the woman who spoke to the former Minister was.
"The media has the responsibility to critically monitor persons holding public offices, but such a socially-consented power cannot end up as a heinous intrusion into the privacy of an individual. If the media displays the primitive psychology of moral policing, it would be dangerous for society," the statement said.
"Even the security agencies in the country have only limited authority to record anyone's telephonic conversation. If the conversation were true and it was recorded and leaked, it is a criminal act that should be punished. What is needed is an investigation that would bring out all this," the statement added.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:35 PM IST