KOCHI: Finally, the Syro Malabar Church has got its own news and entertainment channel to air unbiased news. ‘Shekinah TV’ was officially launched by Major Archbishop of the Syro Malabar Church Cardinal George Alenchery on April 28 in Thrissur. Its online portal was also launched. Santhosh Karumathra has been appointed the managing director of the channel. Cardinal Alenchery said journalism with firm foundations in values is the need of our times and Shekinah Television is conceptualised with the highest idealistic vision.
“The Church is convinced Shekinah Television has a special role in today’s scenario and it is based on this conviction the new media venture has been launched,” said Karumathra. “The channel will carry nothing that is of no use to its viewers,” said Chief News Director Ignatius Gonsalves.
The channel’s head office is at Talikode in Thrissur, and it is starting operations under the aegis of the ‘Shekinah Ministries’, which has been functioning in Kerala since 2000. According to channel officials, the channel is a non-profit venture, and will not feature any commercial advertisements. All the capital invested, and subsequent expenditure will be borne by funds supported by the faithful.
“The channel is born out of a desire to evolve a new media culture, since today’s news media is sold out to vested viewership interests and competitive reporting, which has led to false news, deviating from the actual truth, being propagated,” said the officials.
According to sources, the major share of the channel is with the Church. Shyju Antony, convenor, AMT, criticised the ownership of the channel. The total capital invested for launching the channel has been stated as Rs 5 crore and the paid up capital has been mentioned as Rs 3.50 crore. “If the Church has only moral support to offer then why have they placed three bishops in the position of patrons of the channel? This itself reveals the Church has a huge involvement relating to the investment in the channel.
However, Syro-Malabar Church Media Commission chairman Mar Joseph Pamplany said the Church will offer only moral support to the channel, there is no direct financial involvement from the Church.
Archbishop of Thrissur Archdiocese Mar Andrews Thazhath is the chief patron of Shekinah TV. Archbishop of Verapoly Archdiocese Joseph Kalathiparambil, Bishop Raphael Thattil and Coadjutor Bishop of Pathanamthitta Bishop Samuel Mar Irenios are the rest of the patrons.