The Madras High Court on Tuesday granted anticipatory bail to YouTube channel interviewer G. Felix Gerald, 48, in a case booked against him for having uploaded an interview of a woman advocate who had named some high-level dignitaries and made certain objectionable remarks against them.
Justice A.D. Jagadish Chandira granted the relief on condition that the petitioner file an affidavit stating that he would avoid uploading such objectionable content in future. The judge also ordered that he appear before Cyber Crime Wing sleuths for two weeks to cooperate with them in the investigation.
In his advance bail petition, the petitioner said he was a journalist employed at a Tamil news YouTube channel named Red Pix 24X7. He usually interviewed guests and recorded these conversations “in accordance with procedures and regulations”. Recently, he had interviewed an advocate-cum-politician named Geetha. The interview was uploaded on the channel on October 15. Being an advocate, politician and an educationalist, the interviewee discussed current affairs, politics, women’s issues and corruption. In the course of the interview, she referred to the names of some high-level dignitaries and made certain remarks.
“These references and remarks are certainly not known to the interviewer and are unexpected. Neither the channel nor the petitioner, as an interviewer, has any role whatsoever in the references and remarks made by Ms. Geetha,” he said and claimed that the Cyber Crime Wing had registered a case against her and him on the instructions of superior officers. He said the policemen had visited his former residence on October 28 and enquired about him. Thereafter, they visited his office and obtained his new residential address and other details on the “pretext” of issuing summons, the petitioner said, claiming that he was under their surveillance.
Apprehending that he might get arrested any time, the petitioner urged the court to grant him advance bail. He also claimed to have removed the interview from the channel on the basis of legal advice and undertook that he would not permit any disputed content to be published in future.