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No one will be allowed to play with media’s freedom, says I&B min on Telangana CM’s remarks

MUMBAI: Taking serious note of Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao’s controversial remarks on media, Information and Broadcasting (I&B) minister Prakash Javadekar has said that no one will be allowed to play with freedom of press.

prakash-javdekar-main“We have taken serious note of the issue and you will know what we do. Have discussed all issues with him KCR,” Javadekar said. “Media’s freedom is the soul of democracy. No one will be allowed to play with media’s freedom. 1975 emergency was to trample media’s freedom.”

Javadekar’s comment comes a day after the Telangana CM sparked a controversy by threatening to ‘bury the media ten feet under the earth’ if it continues to insult the state and its people.

Meanwhile, the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) has stated that the remarks by the Chief Minister of Telangana are a direct attack on the right to freedom of speech and expression enshrined as a fundamental right under Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution.

NBA has appealed to the chief minister to desist from making such inflammatory charges against the media and keep the discourse civil and sane.

It also condemned the illegal and arbitrary actions by cable operators in switching off some of the news channels and urges the government to take cognizance of the same and also take necessary action against such cable operators and individuals.

“Blacking out a licensed channel is an anti-democratic action that goes against the Constitutional principles of free speech,” NBA said in a statement.

The row erupted when two TV channels allegedly portrayed the members of the Assembly in a bad light. Transmission of the two channels was blocked subsequently.

KCR’s statement came close on the heels of the blocking of TV9 and ABN Andhra Jyothi by multi-system operators (MSOs) in the newly carved state for allegedly airing programmes “denigrating the Telangana dialect, sentiment and feelings” of the people of the state.

Despite protests by journalists from the two channels, the two channels continue to be blocked by MSOs in the state.

The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) had also directed the Telangana government to provide security to MSOs for starting transmission of the two channels. The MSOs had told the tribunal that they have stopped transmission of the channels fearing attack on their property.

Also read:

Telangana CM threatens to ‘bury’ TV channels