BANGALORE: Left embarrassed by its ministers viewing porn in the Karnataka assembly, the Bharatiya Janata Party government is reviving a three-year old plan for the legislature to have its own TV channel.
However, the government is promising that private TV channels will not be banned from telecasting the proceedings in the assembly and the legislative council, at least immediately.
Private TV channels are presently allowed to telecast live the legislature proceedings.
On Feb 7, two ministers, Laxman Savadi and C.C. Patil, were caught by these channels viewing a porn clip on the cell phone which, the two said, belonged to another minister J. Krishna Palemar. The three quit the ministry the next day.
"We discussed whether the legislature can own its television channel like Lok Sabha," Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda told reporters after a meeting with Speaker K.G. Bopaiah and council Chairman D.H. Shankaramurthy here Tuesday.
Officials of the two houses of the legislature and central government-run Doordarshan took part in the meeting.
"We have decided to study the issue (setting up of the channel) in detail," he said.
Asked whether private channels will be barred from the legislature which begins its budget session in March second week, Gowda said: "There will be no ban on private channels in budget session."
He said Bopaiah and Shankaramurthy will visit Delhi soon to discuss with Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and parliament secretariat officials on the working of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha TV channels.
Gowda said the state government plans for an exclusive legislature TV channel "is not a new proposal". "We are also not in a hurry to set it up," he added.
Shankaramurthy denied the plan was being revived in view of the porn viewing incident.
"It is not correct. We have been discussing about the proposal for several months now. It (porn viewing) is an ugly incident and should not have happened", he said.
The BJP came to power in Karnataka for the first time in May 2008 and in 2009 set up a committee headed by party legislator A. Ramdas to study the feasibility of the state legislature having own TV channel. The panel gave its nod and estimated initial investment to set it up at around Rs.25 crore.