A shocking incident of bribery amounting to Rs. 2.5 lakhs to select journalists by the Office of the Chief Minister of Karanataka on the occasion of Deepavali has come to light lately.
The huge scandal has come to light after a few regional media outlets followed the trace of a WhatsApp message that went viral. The message read,
‘On the ocassion of Deepavali, many journalists have received Rs. 2.5 lakhs each alongside sweets from the Chief Minister’s office. Please donot expect any anti-government news till the elections are done’.
It is also being reported that a few journalists not just returned the amount that they recieved but also have condemned such acts.
gaurilankeshnews.com has reported that its sources have confirmed that journalists writing on politics and TV Anchors were given upto Rs. 5 lakhs. At the same time, a few media outlets have recieved only sweet boxes. Sitaraman Shankar, CEO of Prajavani, a major Kannada daily when contacted for a response said- ‘Sorry. No comments.’
When gaurilankeshnews.com contacted Mohan Krishna, Media Secretary of the Office of Chief Minister said that ‘I haven’t paid anyone. I have been on leave since the last 15 days as I was not keeping well. Hence, I’m unaware about the issue.’
Attempts to contact Pagoji Shankar, Media Coordinator of the Chief Minister’s office haven’t yielded any results and any response from them will be updated here.
The incident has brought to the fore concerns regarding the liberty and financing of media alongside media autonomy.
BJP that wishes to form govt. in Karnataka is known for its disregard for media ethics. It has now come under deep scrutiny after the incident has come to light.
It is being said that the government has resorted to such moves to ensure that it gets a positive coverage in popular media at a time when elections are just a few months away.
Its also being rumoured that a Minister has distributed gold coins to select journalists.