Thursday 11 September 2014

Threat to Media Freedom

Press Note

               It is reported that the Chief Minister of Telengana, Shri K.C.Rao, recently (on 9.9.2014) made a statement from a public platform saying that he would break the necks and bury the media 10 kilometers underground, in response to some alleged derogatory remark made against some MLAs by a certain regional Telugu TV channel (TV 9). 
               If indeed such derogatory remarks were made by the TV channel, they were improper, and the media should desist from using such derogatory remarks. However,  I am informed that the TV channel (TV 9) which allegedly made the derogatory remarks has repeatedly apologized for doing so, both on their T.V. channel through DTH service as well as in letters to the Speaker of the Telengana Assembly as well as all Telengana M.L.A.s.
               However, as a reaction to these remarks of the TV channel, it is reported that the Chief Minister of Telengana has, from a public platform, stated that he will break the necks and bury the media 10 kilometers underground, if anybody tries to denigrate or hurt the self respect of Telengana, its Legislative Assembly, or its culture.  What kind of language is this?
               This statement of a Chief Minister is, in my opinion, highly improper, highly objectionable and totally unacceptable in a democracy, particularly since it is coming from a person holding a high constitutional office.  The kind of language used by the Chief Minister for the media is highly offensive, totally unwarranted and most inappropriate.  The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) and its affiliated Telengana Union of Working Journalists (TUWJ) have already sent me a statement issued by them criticizing the threats issued by the C.M. of Telengana.

               I am informed that under the pressure of the Telengana Government, the Cable Operators’Associations (M.S.O.) have suspended the telecast through the cable operators of two TV channels, TV 9 and ABN Andhra Jyothi (although ABN Andhra Jyothi had not even telecast such derogatory remarks, or any other derogatory remarks against Telengana M.L.A.s).
  I call upon the Chief Minister, Telengana as well as the Cable Operators’Associations to withdraw the suspension orders immediately, so that the said two TV channels may start operating again.  Freedom of the media is guaranteed by our Constitution, and cannot be validly suppressed in this manner.

(Markandey Katju)


  1. Mr. Kcr has been misinterpreted. Freedom to press is always backbone to democracy. But in this case the press involved has clearly lacked journalistic ideology. They had vested interests in telecasting such things.

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