NEW DELHI, Sept 4, Reuter: Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on Sunday postponed debate in the upper house of parliament on a defamation bill condemned by the press and opposition as a bid to kill investigative reporting.

The Press Trust of India said Gandhi told members of his Congress (I) party he had set up a powerful committee to review the bill.

The agency quoted Gandhi as saying the committee, headed by foreign minister P.V. Narasimah Rao, would consider ways to allay fears about the bill passed by the lower house of parliament last Tuesday, he did not specify the measures.

Most opposition is to a provision obliging someone accused of libel or slander to prove his innocence.

The upper house had been scheduled to debate the bill on Monday.

Earlier remarks by a senior congress party official suggested the government might revise a bill it says was meant to improve reporting standards.

Congress (I) party general secretary Vithal Gadgil told reporters on Saturday the government was “open and amenable to all reasonable suggestions, from whichever quarter they come.”

Article extracted from this publication >> September 9, 1988