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Karnataka Legislature mulls owning TV channel

Bangalore(PTI): Karnataka Legislature today sought to resurrect an old proposal to launch its own TV channel, the move coming against the backdrop of private channels airing the porn-watching episode involving three former ministers.

The presiding officers of both Houses and government today held a meeting to revive the three-year-old proposal and decided to collate more information on creating the facility.
The meeting was attended by Chairman of the Legislative Council D H Shankara Murthy, Assembly Speaker K G Bopaiah and Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, besides officials from both Legislature Seceretariat and Doordarshan.

“It is only a small step towards whether the legislature can own its television channel like Lok Sabha. What are the financial implications. We have decided to study pros and cons of the entire issue,” Sadananda Gowda told reporters.

He, however, ruled out banning regional channels in both Houses in the wake of their telecasting Laxman Savadi, C C Patil and Krishna Palemar, who as ministers were caught on camera watching obscene video clippings in the assembly on February seven. The three subsequently had to tender their resignations following public outrage.

Gowda said the presiding officers would soon visit Delhi for a discussion with Lok Sabha Speaker and Secretariat officials to discuss the issue.

“It is not a new proposal. We have to learn about the technology and system. The government is not in a hurry. We will collect all details. Upper House Chairman and Assembly Speaker will give a report to the government. We will study the entire proposal and take a decision”.

Gowda ruled out banning private channels’ entry into the Legislature during the budget session expected to be held in the second week of March, asserting “certainly there will be no ban on private channels in budget session”.

Shankaramurthy denied that the Legislature was trying to breath life into the proposal after the porn-watching episode.

“No it is not correct. We have been into discussions in the last three months. Of course, it is an ugly incident and should not have happened”, he told reporters.

Three years ago a committee under the chairmanship of A Ramdas, now Minister for Medical Education, had been set up and it has submitted a report stating that starting of a television channel for legislature might cost Rs 25 crore.
Shankaramurthy said the investment could go up.

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