Parliamentary panel slams media, demands sting guidelines

December 15th, 2008 - 6:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyNew Delhi, Dec 15 (IANS) The parliamentary committee probing the allegations that three MPs were sought to be bought for votes ahead of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s July 22 trust vote slammed the media Monday for discrediting the democratic institutions in their “race for achieving viewership”.“The committee wishes to express concern over the fact that the media has been indulging in a race to achieve viewership through sensationalism on a competitive basis,” the committee said in its report.

“In this case, a TV channel has implied that all members are susceptible to corruption. Carrying out such operations in an unregulated manner, which cast aspersions on members of parliament, erodes the credibility of our democratic institutions,” it said.

The seven-member committee under the chairmanship of the Congress’ V. Krishna Chandra S. Deo was formed after three Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs - Ashok Argal, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Bhagora - stunned the nation by brandishing wads of cash in the Lok Sabha shortly before the Manmohan Singh government was to face the trust vote July 22 evening.

The committee in its report also demanded that guidelines be laid and regularised for sting operations.

“The committee further feels that the government should, through proper authority, lay down specific guidelines and norms for sting operators to ensure that the basic journalistic ethics are scrupulously adheres to,” the report said.

“The committee also recommended that the union government may initiate steps for laying guidelines and norms for sting operations,” the report said.

During the probe, the committee collected evidence from Rajdeep Sardesai, editor-in-chief of CNN-IBN TV channel which had conducted a sting operation into the matter.

Images of MPs brandishing wads of currency notes that were beamed on television channels had stunned the whole nation.

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