Asking the assembly to withdraw the order, the Guild said it was "gross misuse of the powers and privileges" of legislature. The decision, it said, also violates "the Fundamental Right of Freedom of Speech guaranteed under the Indian Constitution and the Freedom of the Press".
While the legislature can punish anyone for breach of privileges, what constitutes a "breach" and what punishments can be given, is not clearly defined. The journalists can appeal to the courts, but the courts are usually reluctant to take a call on when the legislature exercises its power.
Pointing out the lack of code on breach of privileges, the Guild said, "The right to try and sentence journalists for defamation is vested with the courts of law and the Karnataka Legislative Assembly cannot and should not misuse its powers and privileges to conduct a trial and sentence any member of the press for libel".
The Congress government of Karnataka has distanced itself from the controversy. "The government has no role to play in this. There was a complaint by an MLA - the Speaker had referred it a legislature committee," the state's law minister TB Jayachandran has said. The Speaker K B Koliwad belongs to the Congress.
In a video message, Mr Belagere said he could go to the court against the assembly's order. "This government only has one more year to go. Their life is over. Why do you hold me responsible for anything? This is very serious. I am against it. I will be against the system," he said.
On Friday, Amnesty International issued a statement criticising the assembly's move. "Journalists must have the freedom to write critical articles. If individuals feel that their reputations have been affected, they can take recourse to civil defamation remedies in court," the statement read.
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