Times journalist gets jail term

Hyderabad: The 14 Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court of Hyderabad on Thursday sentenced a former journalist to six months of imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 in a defamation suit dating back to 2015.

The journalist was identified as Samyukhta, who previously worked as a correspondent for the Hyderabad Times supplement of the Times of India. In 2015, she was held to have misreported about the Art@Telangana trust, accusing it of laundering money, besides other baseless accusations.

In the newspaper edition dated June 25, 2015, a report bearing headlines ‘Japan Junket leaves Telangana Art frat Fuming’ and ‘Secret Mission to Japan’, the correspondent had claimed that the Art@Telangana trust selected a group of artists in an ad hoc manner for participating in a camp in Japan. The report alleged that artists, selected on such a basis, were being ferried to an international camp on government charges. It further alleged — identifying the selected artists as Laxman Aelay, Priyanka Aelay, Anand Gadapa, his wife Nirmala, Bharat and his wife Priti Samyuktha and Masuram — that it “looks like a whole exercise to promote artists from the same caste and keep money within the same community.”

A caricature of Art@Telangana was also published, in which three artists were depicted sitting on a cow, facing backwards, with the name of the initiative ‘Art@Telangana’ written on the cow.

Taking issue with the reportage by Samyukhta, the trust filed a case, alleging that the article had falsely framed the trust on accusations purely based on misinformation provided by a few anonymous individuals and was published despite correct information provided by a trustee before the publication of the reports.

Hence, the trustees — B. Narsing Rao, a well-known filmmaker, S. Niranjan Reddy, a reputed lawyer, B.V. Papa Rao, a former IAS officer and Laxman Aelay, a renowned artist — concluded that they were sure that the article was designed to defame their reputation.

After perusing the facts, the court found Samyuktha guilty of irresponsible reportage, which may have damaged the image of the trust.

Justice T. Kanhya Lal issued orders sentencing Samyuktha to six months of imprisonment and levied a Rs 10,000 fine, stating further that if she defaulted in paying the fine, another month of imprisonment would be added to the sentence.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
Next Story