Banned Telugu TV channels issue rocks Rajyasabha

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As the issue of unofficial banning of telugu TV channels TV9 and ABN Andhrajyoti reached the Rajyasabha today, different parties talked of a compromise and resuming of airing the channels again. TRS MP K Keshavarao requested the members to watch the videos that have hurt the feelings of entire Telangana society before saying anything else on the issue.

MP Sujana Chowdary has accused that the Telangana TRS government is trying to indirectly control the media there. He has warned the government to refrain from such pressure tactics.

Congress MP T Subbirami Reddy stayed away from going into the details of the issue, and said that the language used in certain programs in these channels has definitely been objectionable and went on to advise cooling off tempers, negotiation and allowing the channels to resume their services and fulfill their duty towards the public.

Congress MP Renuka Chowdary has said that this situation offers the Telangana government to show that they can be responsible. Despite the acrimony, the media is respected as the fourth estate and it is better given them their due respect. If the channels have been abusive or offensive, there are methods to set them on the right path, any efforts contrary will not yield proper results. Such issue should not be about individual egos and the Telangana government should come forward , stop being an offender itself and solve such issues. She has advised for a regulatory authority for all media that has real powers in controlling situations that emerge from time to time.

TDP MP CM Ramesh has listed out several programs of different channels dome in a satirical manner. He declared that such satirical programming is not done with any malafide intention, but to bring some issues to public notice. HE has questioned the authority of the Cable/ multi system operators in blocking these channels for so long. They are violating Article 19 – the Freedom of expression right. He requested the Information and Broadcasting minister to take immediate action and resume the channel services in Telangana.

Another TDP MP Sujana Chowdary continued his discussion and asked the government to focus on the repercussions of such dictatorial attitude that might scare international investors from coming to our country. He insisted that the Central Government cannot sit spectator in the issue and urged the concerned minister to take action immediately.

I&B minister Prakash Javdekar replied to the discussion finally and said that the freedom of expression is a crucial assurance of the constitution. “The press freedom has not come for free, there have been several struggles before and after independence. At the same time, no freedom comes without responsibility. Media itself should evolve a self mechanism to be responsible. Our regulatory agencies like Press Council have become toothless. I have asked the State Government if they had anything to do with the banning of the channels in Telangana. They have replied negative. I am conducting a meeting with the MSO’s at 5 PM today and I will see to it that such unfortunate situation does not prevail. 1995 Cable regulation act dictates that they cannot violate any regulations of the act. I will first try discussions then I will do all I can in this regard,” declared Javdekar.

Derek O’Brien, D Raja, Vijay Goyal, V Hanumantha Rao, Rapolu Anand Bhasker and several other members also spoke on the issue.

Medaram Jathara

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