A local court on Friday granted bail to the news editor of Tamil daily Dinamalar, B Lenin, arrested on Wednesday for permitting the publication of a news item that hurt the sentiments of some female actors. Journalists in the state have now demanded action against the actors for defaming them.
The chief metropolitan magistrate granted Lenin unconditional bail after hearing his bail plea.
Lenin was arrested Wednesday evening from his office, and remanded in custody till Oct 21 on a complaint lodged by South India Film Artistes Association (SIFAA), after Dinamalar Sunday published a news report with the names and photos of several leading lights of the Tamil cinema allegedly involved in prostitution.
The report was based on the statement given to police by actor Bhuvaneswari, who was arrested a day earlier for running a high-profile prostitution racket from her home.
However, the daily paper published an unconditional apology the following day. Not satisfied with it, the actors moved SIFAA, which lodged a police complaint on the basis of Lenin, was arrested.
After his release, Lenin recalled the manner in which he was arrested.
"The police asked about my role in the paper. When I told them I had cleared the report, they asked me to accompany them to the commissioner's office but I refused. I was grabbed by my shirt and was taken by the police from my work place," he said.
The arrest had sparked off a full-fledged war between journalists in the state and movie actors.
The Chennai Press Club (CPC) and the Madras Union of Journalists (MUJ) Thursday submitted a memorandum to the city police commissioner, demanding action against several leading actors for their speeches at the SIFAA meeting, reportedly defaming journalists and their family members.
"The Tamil Nadu government should act on our complaint against actors who defamed not only the journalists but also the female members of their families. Secondly, the government should also withdraw the case against Lenin," CPC joint secretary Bharathithamizan told reporters in Chennai.
According to him, the CPC and MUJ will consult lawyers for filing a defamation suit against the actors.
"Whether the defamation suit will be filed against the actors in Chennai or even in various districts is under discussion," he said.
Said R Bhagwan Singh, consulting editor of Deccan Chronicle: "Our demand is the withdrawal of the case filed against Lenin. The need of the hour is unity amongst the different journalist bodies to proceed further."
He suggested that a joint action council be formed with representatives from different journalist organisations that can take decisions collectively.