17-10-201917-10-2019 10:25:49 IST
2019-10-17T04:55:49.660Z17-10-2019 2019-10-17T04:55:46.368Z - - 03-04-2020
In a move that has raised a lot of eyebrows the Jaganmohan Reddy government has reportedly given powers to the departmental secretaries to take legal action against media outlets if they are found to be carrying baseless reports with 'malafide intention'.
The state cabinet has apparently accepted this proposal of Information and Public Relations (I&PR) Minister Perni Venkataramaiah and will be implementing the plan by citing a GO from 2007 which empowers the I&PR special commissioner to file cases against baseless media reports.
The state may now extend that same power to all secretary-rank officials.
"Certain print, electronic and social media are deliberately trying to tarnish the image of the government and its officials by spreading false news with malafide interest… Now, it is felt that the departmental secretaries, with thorough knowledge of the affairs about the department and having the wherewithal to judge whether the news is true or false, after conducting thorough inquiry, should be empowered to file appropriate cases against defamatory content appearing in print, electronic and social media," the memorandum stated.
"Now, the cabinet decided to empower the departmental secretaries to file defamation cases against the media. They can take legal action within 24 hours against the organisation responsible for the news item after ascertaining the veracity of such stories," an official familiar with the development was quoted as saying.
The Jaganmohan Reddy government is currently involved in a legal battle with TV5 and ABN Andhra Jyothi over an 'unofficial ban'.
TV5 has approached the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) to restore their services after they claimed that an unofficial ban was sanctioned against them for airing news that showed the government in poor light. In September, the Tribunal ordered cable operators in Andhra Pradesh to restore the TV5 news channel on their networks.
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