The Telangana police arrested at least 40 journalists and content creators from YouTube on January 6, the News Minute . The reporters who were detained alleged that they were harassed for their coverage during the Huzurabad by-election which took place in October last year.
News Minute said the reporters alleged they were "questioned for nearly 12 hours about their 'anti-KCR' stance". Musham Srinivas, a journalist with Telugu digital news channel Tolivelugu, said he was asked questions like, "Why are you speaking against the government? Why are you so against the chief minister?"
Srinivas also said "about four or five" special operations team policemen in plainclothes came into his room in Hyderabad and "without giving any kind of explanation, bundled me into a vehicle...I was detained without any valid reason for nearly 12 hours. After seizing my phone, they formatted it, which is again totally against the law."
Similarly, G Shivaram and Praveen Reddy, who respectively run the YouTube channels GSR TV and Right Voice, were allegedly arrested by the Karimnagar police for operating the channels “without permission”.
V Satyanarayana, the Karimnagar commissioner of police, told News Minute: "Individuals, celebrities, officers, public representatives, prime minister, chief minister, ministers, MPs are being individually targeted in a very derogatory manner on social media. Posts that promote enmity between groups are being made. This is an offence under the IT Act.”
On the arrests of Shivaram and Reddy, the police commissioner said, "They are not registered with any media house. They don’t have accreditation nor do they have the permission of the information and public relations department."