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Updated: May 11, 2011 02:14 IST

Thomas moves court for probe into ‘distorted telecast'

Legal Correspondent
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P.J. Thomas. File Photo: Rajeev Bhatt
The Hindu
P.J. Thomas. File Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

Says there are 7.8 lakh hits on Internet describing him as tainted

The former Central Vigilance Commissioner, P.J. Thomas, on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court for a CBI inquiry into what he said were distorted reporting/telecasting of court proceedings in the case in which his appointment as CVC was struck down.

Mr. Thomas said he was aggrieved by the wrong interpretation of the proceedings and the judgment, particularly the telecast of defamatory and cooked-up news.

Some vested interests in the media had been making adverse publicity, referring to him as a tainted official. The proceedings were wrongly interpreted repeatedly, showing him as guilty before the public and that too without a trial which could not be allowed in a country governed by the rule of law, said the application filed through advocate Wills Mathews.

Mr. Thomas said the Supreme Court judgment did not go into the merits of the Kerala palmolein case but the media created a hostile atmosphere, accusing and showing him as tainted and the entire country, except those who were close to him either personally or professionally, believed that he was so.

His counsel had brought to the court's notice an “adverse and imbalanced campaign” by Times Now and he was asked to file an affidavit. He was aggrieved over a programme telecast by this channel on April 6, presenting him as one who shamed India.

The former CVC said there were more than 7, 83,000 hits on the Internet, describing him as tainted based on media reports. He said he had questioned the legality and validity of the March 3 judgment and his application was pending before the President. He also sought a direction to Times Now to produce a CD of all news telecast by the channel connected with the court proceedings on his petition, to initiate contempt proceedings against those found guilty and to frame guidelines for reporting of court proceedings.

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Electronic media is focussed on generating sensational headlines and TRP's rather than portraying unbiased viewpoints. The same was witnessed in PJ Thomas's case. Even though the palomlein case was under consideration by Supreme Court and no judgement was pronounced, most of the media channels went on a witch hunt against Thomas. None of them cared to portray that CVC appointment was prerogative of the appointing committee and Thomas didn't force the PM to appoint him as CVC. Although, the Supreme Court pronounced that the approach of the appointing committee was flawed and hence the appointment is quashed, it did not pass any strictures on PJ Thomas per se. Irrespective of this, the electronic media did not stop castigating Thomas. As per the reports of media itself, the Kerala IAS association supported him in his fight which is rare of IAS associations. In hindsight it seemed to be a motivated campaign by few media channels which again was picked by other channels and print media too. By such an approach, media is digging its own grave and loosing credibility among people. The incidents of paid news and the Radia tapes have already given insights in the way media functions. Thomas is right in his approach by filing an appeal against biased broadcasting by few channels. Moreover, the media houses needs to have a fair and balanced approach in dealing issues of public interest. It needs to come out of 24X7 'breaking news' mentality or it will seriously impair its credibility in long run.

from:  Sanjay Singh
Posted on: May 11, 2011 at 09:41 IST

I must say that Thomas has been maligned, accused, judged and condemned; all before due process of law. The media is to blame for the unfair treatment. Not because they dislike him, but disliked the incumbent government that selected him, more. If Thomas is found to have been a clean and fair official, as he probably almost certainly will be (because by all accounts in the state and centre he is deemed by his juniors, peers and seniors to be precisely that), then what will the current spineless government and our feckless opposition do? Will they give him a certificate of honour (because they cannot and will not revert him to the appointment of CVC); or will they take the easy route of letting Thomas rot on the tainted platform that they together created for him? I for one, would like to contribute to a legal fund to rehabilitate Thomas, if only so that he can hold his head high in retirement. Indeed, if he is cleared as expected, eventually, he should be given a senior appointment by the government of the day, either in his home state, or in the Centre!

from:  Ramgopal Dass
Posted on: May 11, 2011 at 08:40 IST

TIMES NOW relies on sensationalism and twists all news to create a sensation. It is the worst kind of journalism that it practices and it is time it is pulled up and punished stringently.It should be banned for a period of a month or two or it's uploading license should be withdrawn.

from:  S N Iyer
Posted on: May 11, 2011 at 06:10 IST
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