Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Monday accused the government of shutting down a TV channel financed by him. Speaking at a debate on ‘Do liberals stifle debate’ on the last day of Jaipur Literature Festival, he said, “I’m trying to finance a channel, to set up a channel called Harvest. Now we’ve been trying to get a licence, (but) this government doesn’t want to give us a licence. We got a licence ultimately. Then this afternoon, suddenly it was shut down. They called up TataSky and said don’t put this channel on air. We’ve been trying to persuade TataSky (to) allow us to come on air. This is all happening…I’m talking about how dissent is stifled, how people are not allowed to speak, how people are not allowed freedom of speech — as you know it is a fundamental right.”
When the moderator asked Sibal if he was “accusing the government of switching off the channel”, Sibal said, “I’ve said so.”
Meanwhile, Kerala-based Christian devotional channel Harvest TV, which has been on air since 2011, has accused the newly-launched Harvest TV backed by Sibal of unauthorised use of its name, logo and breach of agreement.
On January 15, Harvest Television Network Pvt Limited Director Bibi George Chacko wrote to Rohit Rohan, managing director of Veecon Media & Broadcasting, which runs the news channel Harvest TV launched on January 26, asking it to stop using the former’s logo and goodwill. “The adoption of this identical similar mark is considered to be inherently dishonest and aimed at free riding on the good will and reputation of the Harvest TV,” the Christian channel said.
Chacko said his firm has already written to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, informing that Veecon was “misusing” the trademark of Harvest TV and it should be restrained from doing so.
Chacko wanted termination of the licence of the Sibal-backed channel as “it was taken by fraud and misrepresentation”.