Zee Telefilms has claimed that it had aired the controversial Tehelka tapes on its channels from a journalistic standpoint, independent of any political or business leanings.
Carrying forward its crusade against corruption, Zee has invited viewers to send in their investigative stories captured with the help of secret cameras. After scrutinising these entries, Zee News would select these stories for telecasting on its channels.
The hurriedly organised press conference was addressed by Mr. Santhanam along with Mr. Ranjan Bakshi, vice-president, corporate communications, Zee Telefilms, denied news reports that Zee had affiliations with certain political parties and that it was being funded by foreign agencies.
Dismissing queries on why the advertising rates during the airing of the Tehelka tapes had to be lowered considerably from Rs five lakh/ten second to Rs one lakh/ten second or further down, Mr. Bakshi said that the airing of the tapes was not a business decision. "It was the biggest journalistic story since the Independence and we wanted it to reach a wide audience," he added. For a wider reach, the tapes were shown across 15 channels, thereby impacting the ad rates, he said.
Zee, however, continued to keep the cost of the Tehelka tapes a secret. Zee had anexclusive arrangement with Tehelka, Mr. Santhanam said. But he refused to quote a figure on how much Zee paid to Tehelka to buy these tapes.