June 1, 2021 3:35:34 am
Executives of Telugu news channels TV5 and ABN Andhra Jyothi have accused the Andhra Pradesh government of unofficially “banning” their channels after accusing them of being critical of the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government.
The channels cannot be accessed through multiple-system operators, which provide cable TV connections. They are now only available on direct-to-home services.
“This started on September 20 last year. The MSOs privately say they are under pressure to block the channels from ruling party leaders. The MSOs, however, officially told the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) that they have not blocked the channels and there was some technical difficulty. In spite of the TDSAT’s order to air the channels, they are not complying,’’ an executive of ABN Andhra Jyothi said.
TV5 executives claimed the cable TV networks took the channels off the air after they were threatened by ruling party leaders—who held a meeting with the MSOs in Vijayawada in September.
The channels, which have their headquarters at Hyderabad, are on air in Telangana.
The state CID had on May 15 registered a sedition case against the two channels for airing speeches of YSRCP MP K Raghurama Krishna Raju. While Raju is named as accused number 1, TV5 and ABN are named as A2 and A3. The FIR states that the channels aired speeches of Raju which promoted enmity and hatred among communities. Raju indulged in hate speeches against certain communities and promoted disaffection against the government, the FIR states. The FIR alleges that the MP colluded with the two channels which gave him special slots to defame the government.
On Monday, the Supreme Court gave protection to the two news channels from any coercive action in the case lodged against them under the colonial-era provision.
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