VIJAYAWADA: Senior journalists have blasted the state government for blacking out NTV in AP.
[color=black] According to sources, cable operators have allegedly stopped telecasting the news channel in all 13 districts of the state for its role in highlighting the ‘murky’ role of the TDP regime in the cash-for-vote scam.
Most viewers in the district headquarters have reportedly not received the channel since Saturday morning. Only viewers with access to direct to home (DTH) coverage offered by Dish TV are able to view the channel in the last three days. However, this section barely constitutes 30% of the total urban TV viewership.[/color]
Even as media associations slammed the TDP government’s alleged doublespeak on press freedom, the Multi-System Operators (MSO), under whose control TV programmes are telecast, maintained a stoic silence on the issue.
Andhra Pradesh Journalists Federation (APJF) secretary Dara Gopi pointed out that chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu has made a U-turn on the issue of press freedom. “It was Naidu who complained to the Centre when the Telangana government imposed a similar blackout on TV9 and ABN channels sometime back. At that time, Naidu had portrayed himself as a champion of free speech and expression but he has revealed his true colours now,” Dara Gopi rued.
Journalists Association of Andhra Pradesh (JAAP) also decried the attack on press freedom. “After all, it was TDP Lok Sabha members who highlighted the blackout issue in Telangana. How can they allow a similar thing during their party’s rule in the state?” JAAP president Prabhakar demanded to know.
Potluri Saibabu, president of the MSOs Association, denied that they are under pressure from the government to black out NTV. “Technical problems could be the reason for disturbances in telecasting the programmes,” he said.
NTV chairman Naren Chowdary said that he has been receiving complaints from viewers in the district headquarters that they are not receiving the channel though its telecast in rural areas and mandal headquarters remain unaffected. “I have no information suggesting the government’s role in blacking out the channel. A clear picture is expected to emerge in a day or two,” he said.