Bengaluru: The Karnataka Assembly has sentenced two editors of Kannada tabloids, including noted scribe Ravi Belagere, to one year in jail for breach of privilege over their alleged defamatory articles against state legislators.
A resolution to punish the two journalists--Belagere, who is Editor of 'Hi Bangalore', and Anil Raju, Editor of 'Yelahanka Voice'--in connection with the publication of the articles was adopted by the Assembly by a voice vote yesterday.
Besides the jail term, the Speaker also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on each of them.
"The State Assembly has decided to punish the two journalists of Kannada tabloids for (allegedly) publishing defamatory articles against legislators," Koliwad announced on the floor of the House here.
"I approve the recommendation of the privilege committee which had recommended a year's imprisonment and a fine of Rs 10,000 on "Hi Bangalore" and "Yelahanka Voice" editors," he said.
If the journalists fail to pay the fine, the jail term would be extended to another six months, the Speaker said.
The Assembly secretariat said today that it will ask the police to act on the House resolution sentencing the two journalists to jail.
The Privileges Committee of the Assembly had recommended jail for Belagere and Raju for allegedly publishing articles against legislators, including Koliwad.
The article against Koliwad was published in the September 2014 issue of 'Hi Bangalore.'
Former Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa had referred the issue to the committee after Koliwad, when he was an MLA, had lodged a complaint against Belagere.
Congress and BJP MLAs, B M Nagaraju and S R Viswanath raised the issue in the House and recommended action against the journalists.
Nagaraju alleged that Belagare, in spite of being summoned by the committee, was not present for the hearing.
Assembly Secretary S Murthy said a communication is being sent to the police for further action. "The process regarding the same is underway," he told PTI.
Asked about the future course of action, Koliwad said the next procedure would be executed as per law. "It has been unanimously accepted by the House. The next procedure will be executed as per law. There are set procedures and it will be followed," he said.