news Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - 05:30
A minister in the Karnataka government has taken on the Arnab Goswami of Kannada media, and in an open letter criticized the latter for his “offensive and defamatory” remarks. In an open letter, Primary and Secondary Education minister Kimmane Ratnakar has hit out at the head of Kannada news channel Public TV H R Ranganath for “offensive” and defamatory remarks directed not just at him, but also to his voters. Public TV was started around three years ago with Ranganath at the helm. Although much hype surrounded the channel when it launched, Ranganath has since informally been called the Arnab Goswami of Kannada news. On Tuesday, in a letter published in Tirthahalli daily Chalagara, Ratnakar criticized the senior journalist for a recent show in which the channel had invited panelists who “did not have adequate knowledge about the status of education in the state”. Such “one-sided” coverage had not just sullied the image of his government, but had misled the people too. Kimmane Ratnakar said that he was open to criticism, but objected to “defamatory  and one-sided” criticism which was not just in bad taste, but also “childish”. One portion of the letter published on the front page of Tirthahalli daily Chalagara on Tuesday written by Ratnakar titled: "Kimmane Ratnakar's letter to Public TV's Ranganath" In particular, Ratnakar objected to remarks such as “Where were you the last eight days? Are you hiding, underground, you are not available over the phone” which Ranganath is said to have used during his show. “Please rid yourself of the delusion that the whole world watches you every second on the TV. (I criticize ) your mindset that projects me as a criminal for not having been in contact with you. I am not one to be intimidated by anybody as long as I am honest and sincere. No tragedy has occurred because of me, and there is punishment for any errors on the part of officials. It is ridiculous to suggest that I went underground in fear of your TV programme.” The second half of the letter, carried on page 3. He also said that while he could tolerate criticism directed at himself, it was not right to target the voters of his constituency Tirthahall in Shivamogga district, who were “prajnavantharu” (roughly translated as people aware of current affairs). At point in the show, according to the letter, Ranganath is said to have asked: "What sort of person have the people of Tirthahalli elected?" It is latter part, perhaps which prompted Ratnakar to publish the letter in Chalagara, which is at least two decades old and has good circulation in Tirthahalli taluk and surrounding villages in Shivamogga district. Ratnakar also said that he was open to a debate any time, provided there were competent speakers on the panel who were well-versed with the education scenario. Ratnakar could not be reached despite several attempts.

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