16 April, 2008

Tamil daily Makkal Ossai suspended

The Home Ministry rejects the renewal of the Tamil daily's publishing permit. Industry sources say the move could be related to the prominent coverage given to the opposition.

The newspaper's general manager S.M. Periasamy said that they were informed of the decision by a telephone call from the Home Ministry Wednesday morning.

"When I went to the ministry to check if this was true, they handed me the letter rejecting the renewal of our licence," he said.

The letter did not state any reasons for the rejection.

The newspaper also had its permit suspended for one month last August for publishing a picture of Jesus Christ holding a cigarette in one hand and a can of beer in the other on its front-page.

The photo had a caption quoting Christ as saying: “If a person repents his mistakes, heaven awaits him.”

Makkal Osai or “The People’s Voice” was published as a weekly newspaper for 15 years before it became a daily in December 2005.

It is an offshoot of Tamil Osai which ceased operations in 1990 following a management dispute.

It has a circulation of 52,000 currently and employs about 100 people.

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