After colleague quits over CD, six Karnataka ministers get media gag order

After colleague quits over CD, six Karnataka ministers get media gag order

A Bengaluru court Saturday granted a temporary media gag order in favour of six ministers of the BJP government in Karnataka after they expressed apprehension of being defamed, days after TV channels played a video CD allegedly featuring Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi and an unidentified young woman, leading to his resignation.

The court of the 26th additional civil and sessions judge granted the temporary injunction on media broadcast of any CD or other material that is likely to defame the six ministers after they moved court Friday, naming 68 media, social media outlets and a social activist, Rajashekhar Mulali, as respondents.

The six ministers — Shivaram Hebbar, B C Patil, S T Somashekar, K Sudhakar, K C Narayana Gowda and Byrathi Basavaraj — were part of a group of 17 Congress and JDS MLAs who quit the Congress-JDS coalition in 2019 and defected to the BJP to help it come to power under the leadership of Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa.

Jarkiholi, who resigned on March 3, was also part of the group of 17 and was considered the most influential among 12 who were made BJP ministers by Yediyurappa.

The six ministers approached the court for a media gag order in the wake of the Jarkiholi scandal, saying some media houses have been projecting the existence of 19 CDs involving MLAs and ministers.

In a joint suit, the ministers said that following the broadcast of such news, voters of their constituencies are presuming that the ministers are involved in scandals and this is causing embarrassment to their families.

In his injunction order Saturday, the 26th civil and session court judge D S Vijaya Kumar said: “I am of opinion that the media should walk an extra mile to get news and its source verified through legally admissible process, whereupon it should be ready to shoulder responsibility for such news items and then publish or telecast the same, so as to advance the cause of freedom of expression as well as right of the citizens to know about public affairs.”

The court said “it is necessary to injunct telecasting or publishing of any unverified news items against the plaintiffs/applicants”.

News Source: The Indian Express

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