The pressure on Telugu television journalists to file sensational stories prompted a reporter at a popular channel to show porn to minor children, record the incident, and air it as a scoop.
On Independence Day, popular Telugu news channel NTV aired a “prime time news story”, showing a group of 6-15-year-old children watching a pornographic film at the Social Welfare Hostel in Illandu village in Andhra Pradesh’s Warrangal district, 220 km north east of Hyderabad.
It claimed a local villager had tipped it off about the incident at the government-run hostel for boys from backward sections.
The dozen 24/7 Telugu news channels routinely air sensational stories to stay ahead in the fiercely competitive market, but viewers were still shocked.
An embarrassed state government ordered an enquiry, which revealed the two reporters had fabricated the story after allegedly failing to extract money from hostel warden.
State social welfare minister P. Subhash Chandra Bose said the police have booked a case against the two reporters. “The warden had gone out for the day. Taking advantage, the reporters gave the boys a blue film and recorded the incident,” he said.
NTV Chief Editor K. Srinivas Rao told HT: “We believe that there is no mischief on the part of our reporter. If it’s proved he has done something wrong, we will take appropriate action.”
The two reporters — a second reporter not connected to NTV was also involved — have denied the charges.