4 Telugu news channels off air, YSRCP MP points to ‘chilling effect on press freedom’

An executive from one of the four channels told the Indian Express that the previous government ‘did the same thing’.

WrittenBy:NL Team
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Telugu news channels TV9, Sakshi TV, NTV and 10TV have been taken off the air by some cable TV operators in Andhra Pradesh since Friday night, The Indian Express reported. They were first taken off air for a day on June 6, days after the assembly and Lok Sabha poll results.

While the TDP government has said that no instructions have been issued to cable TV operators, YSRCP leader S Niranjan Reddy has written to Central authorities and the Andhra chief minister claiming that this happened due to the directions of the new government.

In a letter to the telecom regulator TRAI that is also marked to the Union Information and Broadcasting Minister, I&B secretary and Andhra CM, YSRCP Rajya Sabha member S Niranjan Reddy said the Andhra Pradesh Cable TV Operators’ Association has “under the pressure and directions” of the newly-formed TDP government sought “to permanently block TV9, NTV, 10TV and Sakshi TV”. “Such interference causes a chilling effect on the freedom of the press.”

Sakshi TV was launched by Indira Television Ltd, promoted by the Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy family.

An executive from one of the four channels, who did not wish to be named, told The Indian Express that all four channels have gone blank since Friday night. “The cable TV operators say they have been told to take them off air but they will not tell who gave the orders.’’

When contacted, Andhra Pradesh IT Minister N Lokesh Naidu, however, told The Indian Express, “Neither TDP nor any NDA leaders in the state have given any instructions to anyone to block any news channels. We have more important work to do than these frivolous things.”

The executive from the TV channel said “the previous government also did the same thing. Then they paid the price.”

In May 2021, Telugu news channels TV5 and ABN Andhra Jyothi, considered to be pro-TDP, were similarly taken off air by the same cable TV operators allegedly under pressure from the YSRCP government.

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