T News, a news channel owned by family members of Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, says ACB is gearing up to slap notices on Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu and a couple of Rajya Sabha members in cash-for-vote case. According to the news channel, which has access to key information in government and ACB, notices would be issued once the investigating agency receives the report about the veracity of audio tapes which contained purported telephonic conversation between Chandrababu Naidu and nominated MLA from Telangana Elvis Stephenson, from Forensic Sciences Laboratory. The contents of the report will be crucial as it would form the basis for Revanth Reddy’s bail and arrest of some more people. The report is expected today or tomorrow, T New said.
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ith Andhra Pradesh police serving notices on a vernacular news channel, T News, journalists across Telangana state staged protests and held demonstrations against the act alleging that it was an attempt to curb the freedom of press.
Notably, the Andhra Pradesh police-in its notice- stated that the news channel, T News, disturbed the public tranquility by telecasting Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu’s alleged telephonic conversation with Telangana’s nominated MLA, Elvis Stephenson. It may be noted that the police served notices based on complaint of an advocate from Vizag.The notice went on to mention that the programme that was aired on June 7 night affected the maintenance of public order, which violated Section-5 of Cable TV News Network Act. It may be recalled that T News had telecast the audio conversation between Babu and Stephenson shortly after the arrest of TDP MLA from Telangana region, Revanth Reddy.
[pullquote position=”left”] Indian Journalists Union’s (IJU) secretary general, Devulapalli Amar condemned the incident and said that none in the world has the authority to question the media of its sources. [/pullquote]
Is Cable TV News Network Act Applicable to TV Channel?
The matter that is being widely debated amongst journalists’ circle today is—whether Cable TV News Network Act can be slapped against a television channel, as the legal experts are of the opinion that this act shall be invoke only against cable television operation and that T News was a cable television operator but a news channel.
What are the possible sections that can be invoked?
The legal experts said that it would have been better and significant in case the following sections were invoked—IPC Sec499 (defamation), IPC Sec502 and IPC Sec120B (criminal conspiracy). They were apparently puzzled as to why these chose Cable TV Network Act. Was it an attempt that would presumably make KCR to strike a compromise deal with Babu, they questioned among themselves.
Attack on the media?
The journalists in Telangana region reacted vehemently to the notices that were served by the police against T News. A large number of scribes gathered outside the DGP office of AP Police in Hyderabad. The sources said that nearly 100 journalists were already taken into the custody. Meanwhile, the Indian Journalists’ Union (IJU) secretary general, Devulapalli Amar condemned the incident and said that none in the world has the authority to question the media of its sources. Serving notices to media is an attempt to curb press freedom, he added.
BJP Jumps into Defence:
Telangana BJP president and MLA, Kishan Reddy has responded to the notices served on T news. He has said that BJP was not against the freedom of press. He, however, criticised KCR and Chandrababu Naidu for indulging in political war.
It now looks like Chandrababu Naidu purportedly crossed swords with freedom of the press. How these cases can curtain press freedom is still a debatable issue.
Andhra Pradesh police slapped a notice on T News, a news channel owned by the family members of chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. The copy of the notice has been delivered to Narayana Reddy CEO of the channel last midnight. The notice, delivered by Vizag ACP Ramana, was served under Section 19 of The Cable Television Network (Regularion) Act-1995. The Section deals with Powers to prohibit transmission of certain programs in public interest. When invoked, the act authorizes the officials to prohibit any cable operator from transmitting any program which is not in conformity with prescribed program code and is likely to promote disharmony or feelings of enmity or ill-will between different religious, racial, linguistic and regional groups. The notice, citing a program transmitted at 8.30 PM on June 7, 2015, said the transmission, which carried a purported conversation between AP Chief Minister Naidu and Telangana MLA Elvis Stephenson, had the potential to create hatred among the people of Andhra Pradesh and Telangan. The AP police sought an explanation from T news in three days. Meanwhile, the Channel described the police act as an indirect declaration of war on Telangana. Journalists across the TS have condemned the Andhra Police move as undemocratic.
As cash-for-vote scam involving TDP legislator from Telangana region is intensifying with ACB reportedly getting a letter from the election commission asking its sleuths for a stringent probe, TDP leaders are trying to use all their brahmastrams.
It is known that TDP folks recently brought in section eight of AP Reorganisation Act into the picture. As Governor ESL Narasimhan is not responding despite TDP supremo Chandrababu meeting him time and again over the implementation of governor’s law and order in Hyderabad, the party leaders chose to target ESL Narasimhan, the constitutional head of the state.
TDP senior leader Acham Naidu recently, in a press meet, addressed the governor as ‘you’ (without a pinch of respect) and said that he was acting as a ‘gangireddu’ (meaning a bull). Lashing out at governor, Acham Naidu said why governor was tight lipped when KCR said that Andhra Pradesh police cannot execute their duties in Hyderabad.
The Centre, which noticed these severe objectionable comments made by Acham Naidu against the governor of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states, has reportedly warned AP chief secretary that TDP leaders were launching verbal attacks against the governor.
Acham Naidu Apologizes and Withdraws:
After learning that Centre expressed its serious concerns over derogatory comments he made against governor, Acham Naidu spoke to the media and said that he was apologetic about the statements he made. He elucidated that he made those remarks only in agony after he looked at the situation of Andhra Pradesh. In case my statements had hurt governor, I withdraw them immediately, added Acham Naidu.
Need for Naidu to Control Leaders:
It is known that TDP leaders are speaking whatever they want that are sometimes lacking logic and sounding contradictory. Earlier, Parakala Prabhakar, who spoke about cash for vote scam has said that the voice in the audio tapes was not that of Chandrababu Naidu. Shortly, Yanamala Ramakrishnudu said that the audio was fabricated.
Even as these leaders continue to make contradictory statements, TDP MLC Somireddy went a step ahead and said that TRS was obstructing the bail of Revant Reddy. How can a political party influence the court was the question then. He was allegedly trying to send wrong messages to people on courts, which was again a matter of serious concern,
This confusion among leaders must be curtained. It is high time for Chandrababu Naidu to bring in a proper code of conduct within the party. Verbal attacks on political leaders are at times acceptable as criticism, however, using the same policy for courts, constitutional heads and constitution is highly not acceptable.