Did Mathrubhumi journo plot to influence coverage to favour her husband?

Leaked audio Mathrubhumi journo Leby denies allegations of fixing news for candidate husband
news Kerala2016 Monday, May 09, 2016 - 18:26

A telephonic conversation between a Mathrubhumi television journalist and an unidentified person has surfaced in which a voice purportedly belonging to the former is heard expressing willingness to offer bribes to other journalists.

A phone conversation between Leby Sajeendran, special correspondent of Mathrubhumi news, Kochi bureau, and an unknown person has been leaked out. The female voice (purportedly Leby’s) can be heard offering to pay journalists to ensure the victory of her husband, MLA and UDF candidate from  Kunnathunadu constituency VP Sajeendran.

In the 9-minute-long audio clip that surfaced on Sunday, Leby is heard seeking confirmation whether her colleagues are working against Sajeendran.  

In the third minute of the audio clip, the man asks Leby how they could influence regional journalists and if she was willing to pay. In this portion, the audio is not too clear and the voices cut in and out. When the man asks whether money can be given (Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000), the female voice replies, “We can give.”

Meanwhile, Leby denied offering bribes to any journalist and was quoted as saying that the conversation is the result of editing unrelated sentences together: “The voice is mine, but the audio clip has been created by editing conversations over two months,” she said.

She further alleged it to be an act of vengeance by PV Sreenijan, son-in-law of former chief justice KG Balakrishnan. She also said that the person at the other end of the conversation introduced himself as a friend of a media person. In her defence, she termed it as something to malign her reputation as well as create discord within the Congress, as elections are just around the corner.

PV Sreejinan wanted to contest as a UDF candidate, but was not chosen owing to investigations against him.

Going by media reports, Leby is believed to have lodged a complaint with the cyber cell.

At the time of publishing, MV Sreyams Kumar, Director of Mathrubhumi was unavailable for comment.

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