Govt to decriminalise defamation: Moily

Government is working on decriminalisation of defamation to make it a civil wrong and a solution may be found soon, Law Minister M Veerappa Moily said.

Last Updated: Jan 12, 2011, 23:30 PM IST

New Delhi: Government is working on decriminalisation of defamation to make it a civil wrong and a solution may be found soon, Law Minister M Veerappa Moily said on Wednesday.

"We are in the process of identifying a number of so-called offences. Decriminalisation of defamation is one such. This is one area we are looking into definitely and shortly we will come out with a solution," he said.

Moily was speaking at a function where he away the "IPI-India Award for Excellence in Journalism, 2010" to news magazine `Tehelka` for its expose on the killing of a Manipur resident in cold blood by security forces.

Tarun Tejpal, Editor of Tehelka, received the award at the function which was attended among others by eminent media personalities besides public men including former Law Minister Ram Jethmalani, senior counsel K T S Tulsi and former minister Shashi Tharoor. The award consists of a trophy, a citation and a Rs. two lakh cash for the series done by reporter Teresa Rehman.
The award was selected by a jury that included A S Anand, former Chief Justice of India, N Ravi, Editor, The Hindu, and Chairman of the India Chapter of the IPI, and M K Razdan, Editor in Chief and CEO of PTI.

Moily was referring to a plea by Ravi who said the government should urgent address the issue of decriminalizing defamation.
Ravi said government action was needed because journalists were being put to unnecessary harassment. He suggested that defamation could be handled as a civil wrong.

PTI