Television

Dasmunsi threatens action against news channel over sting op

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NEW DELHI: Politicians of all hues are coming round to the view that hidden cameras and "peeping tom" journalists need to be gagged.

This was evident when information and broadcasting minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, proposing action against a news channel on an operation relating to cash-for-residential space by elected members of Parliament, termed journalists as lowly paid people who carry out stings for nominal fees.

Commenting caustically on private TV channels' sting operations, Dasmunsi said ''Ye do paise mei reporter rakhte hai, chaar paise ka kaam karate hai aur aath paise mei story bech dete hain (They recruit a reporter for two paise [for a sting operation], get work of four paise from him / her and then sell the material off for eight paise to a channel for telecast)''.

The minister was replying to a question raised in the Lok Sabha (Lower House) by a fellow parliamentarian on a sting operation by a TV channel yesterday. Dasmunsi said the whole operation was meant only to increase ratings to enhance the channel's business, United News of India has reported.

A TV channel yesterday aired a sting operation wherein it showed official residences of ministers and Members of Parliament being rented out to servants and others.
The Bharatiya Janata party MP who raised the issue asked whether those who conducted the sting had taken permission from the House (sic!).

''Whatever was shown by a TV channel yesterday has lowered the prestige of the sovereign Parliament and belittled the elected representatives in the eyes of the people,'' BJP MP Gangwar was quoted by UNI as having said in Parliament.

The sting operation showed occupants of the servant quarters' of some MPs and ministers residences admitting that they were paying monthly rent ranging from Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,500.

Dasmunsi, while referring to sting operations, said these private channels were more interested in sensationalism and fooling the people into believing what they telecast.

The minister, while not revealing the course of action his ministry was planning, assured the House that ''by this afternoon something will come against such harakiri.''

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