The NDA government is set give clearance to a proposed Malayalam television channel, which had been stuck for close to two years as the previous UPA government had reservations about some of the channel’s promoters having “links with the RSS and the BJP”.
With Information & Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar now taking up the matter with Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Janam TV — a proposed news-cum-entertainment channel — appears set to get all clearances required.
Highly placed sources in the I&B Ministry said Janam TV, a Kerala-based channel promoted by a group of NRI and Indian businessmen, had sought the government’s permission to start operations around two years ago.
“In its report to us, the Ministry of Home Affairs said there was nothing adverse against the company and its directors. However, the MHA added that one of the directors of the channel is an RSS worker and few more have connections with the Sangh and BJP and that these facts should be considered,” an I&B Ministry source told The Indian Express.
Following this, the I&B Ministry wrote to MHA, asking it to give a categorical yes or no on whether this channel can be granted permission. “We raised this issue with the then Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde. In fact, a senior functionary in the PMO also recommended that the channel may be granted clearances. However, things didn’t move,” the source said.
The matter recently found mention before new I&B Minister Javadekar, who is learnt to have written to Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
Janam TV’s Chief Operating Officer Rajesh Pillai said, “Ours is an independent channel and is not being run by either the BJP or RSS. We have been running after the authorities for close to two years for approvals. Last November, we were informed that although all our papers were in order, we were not going to get the clearance. Off the record, we were told that the RSS connections of some of our promoters had been flagged as the reason behind the denial of clearance.”
“The father of one of our directors holds a position in the RSS. But how can that be the reason for denying us permission to start the channel,” Pillai said. He said the channel was now expecting a positive response from the government.