Church-backed TV channel sacks bishops

The rift between the laity businessmen and the clergy in the Catholic Church-promoted Jeevan TV, a news and current affairs Malayalam satellite channel, has culminated in the ouster of two powerful archbishops from the channel's top management.

An extraordinary general body meeting convened here on Monday saw participants voting to remove Thrissur Archbishop Andrews Thazhath as chairman and archbishop emeritus Jacob Thumkuzhy as a member of the director board of Jeevan Telecasting Corporation.

A director board member who did not want to be named said: "The bishops wanted to make the channel Church centric, but the businessmen in the director board wanted to make it commercially viable. The power struggle began in the channel after the bishops tried to bring down channel managing director Baby Mathew's stake from 52 per cent. The bishops together have a stake of 13 per cent only," he said.

A group of shareholders, who want to retain control with the bishops, had moved the High Court last week seeking a stay for the general body. The court did not allow stay, but directed the general body decision would be subject to court's final say.

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