Editors Guild of India condemns ban on Telugu channels TV5 and ABN Andhra Jyothi
The Editors Guild of India has issued a statement on Wednesday denouncing the ban
A week after an unwritten ban was imposed on two Telugu channels namely, TV5 and ABN Andhra Jyothi by the YSR Congress-led government in Andhra Pradesh, TV5 has called the move politically motivated. At the same time on Wednesday, the Editors Guild of India issued a statement denouncing the ban.
In an official statement, The Editors Guild of India said, "The Editors Guild of India is distressed to note that an unwritten ban has been imposed by the YSR Congress-led government in Andhra Pradesh on two Telugu news channels – TV5 and ABN. Such restrictions strike at the root of press freedom. The Guild urges the Andhra Pradesh government to clarify if it indeed has in any way been responsible for the stoppage in telecasting of these two television channels. If so, it should immediately rescind any such order.”
The statement further read, “The Guild urges the government not to create a situation where the constitutionally and legally mandated freedoms of media representatives are compromised”.
According to TRAI rules, cable operators cannot disconnect the signals of TV channels without giving 21 days’ notice and clearly specifying the reason for the disconnection.
TV5 News channel has approached the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) on the issue.
Speaking to exchange4media, J. Srinivas Murthy, Vice President - Marketing, TV5 News Network said, “The recent misunderstanding of the current Andhra Pradesh ruling dispensation has been clarified by honourable TDSAT with their order dated 18-09-2019 & 24-09-2019. Honourable TDSAT has ordered to restore the status quo as it existed”.
He continued, “As we have approached the TDSAT Delhi and the court has instructed the MSOs to restore the channel within 24 hours. 60 per cent MSOs have restored the channel, another 40 per cent which is operated by government-run, Andhra Pradesh State Fibre Net Limited & few other networks are yet to be restored.”
Murthy said that he strongly believes that the MSOs have taken this stand due to mounting pressure from the government.
“We have an agreement with the MSOs and paying carriage fees regularly. Before approaching the court, our team tried to meet the government authorities and Information and Public Relations Minister, but our woes were not addressed by the government. This is against the freedom of speech and expression,” he added.
The ruling by the TDSAT on the petition filed by Shreya Broadcasting Pvt Ltd ( which owns TV5 news channel) and Siti Siri Digital Network Pvt Ltd read, “However, in the light of all relevant facts and considering the channel is a Free-to-Air news channel, we clarify and modify our earlier interim order thus: the direction to the respondent to restore the news channel of the petitioner on its network immediately within 24 hours shall include within its scope.”
In a similar incident in the month of July, TV5 and ABN Andhra Jyothi, along with ETV have been served notices barring them from entering Andhra Assembly premises.
Speaking further on the issue, Murthy said, “We are a 12-year-old news channel who has been standing for truth and has never reported anything apart from truth. The channel has withstood the ever testing traits of credibility and people’s choice ever since 2007. We have always taken a neutral stand on issues related to government both in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. I believe the issues are definitely going to settle as per the court order. We have always stood by the truth and will speak the truth".
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