Blocking channels undemocratic, say scribe bodies

Senior journalists called for a dialogue between the managements of TV9 and ABN Andhra Jyoti and the Multi System Operators (MSOs) to amicably settle the issue of the blocking of these channels in the Telangana area, even as they made it clear that the MSO action was ‘undemocratic’ and would set a ‘dangerous trend’ in the future.

At a round table discussion organised by the Indian Journalists Union (IJU) and the Telangana Union of Working Journalists (TUWJ) here on Friday, the speakers felt that MSOs could not block the channels and said the decision whether or not to watch the channels should be left to the viewers.

They reminded that even the government had not banned the channels though serious objections were raised on the content aired by TV9 on the newly-elected MLAs from Telangana by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao himself in the Assembly and received support from all the members.

The speakers were also critical of the content being shown on the TV channels.

“Media has no special privileges and the freedom of speech cannot be misused by the channels to ridicule public representatives or any one. But this incident cannot be a reason for the government or other agencies to strangulate media freedom,” was the common view expressed by various speakers.

The MSOs represented by Subash Reddy, Bhasker and Kuldeep Sahani explained the circumstances under which they had blocked the channels. They criticised the channel owners for being autocratic and how they had misused their proximity to the powers that be to meddle with cable operators’ business interests.

MSOs were ready for a dialogue involving the channel managements if journalist unions and government representatives took the initiative.

Senior journalists like K. Ramachandra Murthy, K. Sreenivas Reddy, Devulapalli Amar, Mallepalli Lakshmaiah, K. Amarnath, Telakapalli Ravi, K. Lakshma Reddy and K. Nageshwar, MLC and Prof. Padmaja Shaw shared their views. Virahat Ali, TUWJ Secretary coordinated.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 11:28:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/blocking-channels-undemocratic-say-scribe-bodies/article6155906.ece

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