The Indian Newspaper Society (INS) has condemned the freezing of the bank accounts of the Sakshi group based in Andhra Pradesh by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

INS president Ashish Bagga said in a statement here that the action could lead to abrupt stoppage of publication of the newspaper and render over 10,000 employees jobless.

The CBI's action had come at a time when Andhra Pradesh is in election mode, a period when free dissemination of news and views was necessary to aid the democratic process, he added.

The INS viewed the CBI's action as a threat to the freedom of the press, he said. This would scuttle the process of opinion-building in the build-up to the by-elections (scheduled for June 12). He asked the Union government and the authorities concerned to stop taking any steps that could derail the freedom of speech and curtail citizens' right to information.

The Sakshi group runs a Telugu newspaper with multiple editions, and a television channel.

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