NTV taken off air in Andhra after repeated broadcast of Naidu's alleged phone call?
news Tuesday, June 16, 2015 - 05:30
Things took a turn in Andhra Pradesh on Monday as cable TV operators 'unofficially' blacked out Telugu news channel NTV, in almost all districts of the state. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) led Andhra government has however denied it had anything to do with the blackout of the channel after it continuously played an alleged phone conversation between AP CM Chandrababu Naidu and Telangana MLA Elvis Stephenson in the cash-for-MLC seat scam. Sources claim that Multi System Operators (MSOs) were under tremendous pressure to shut the broadcasting of NTV in all 13 districts of the state. "There is also talk about blocking opposition party YSRCP-owned Sakshi TV for doing the same thing," a source added. However, a few DTH operators still continue to broadcast the channels. NTV was launched on August 30, 2007 along with South India's devotional channel Bhakti TV by Rachana Television Private Limited (RTPL), owned by Narendra Choudary Tummala, a businessman. ¬† ¬† MSOs maintain that N TV is not being telecast due to technical reasons. This is all too familiar for journalists in the two Telugu speaking states as two Telugu news channels, TV9 and ABN Andhra Jyothy, were¬†banned for 144 days last year in Telangana. MSOs stopped airing the channel in June last year after the channels telecast two programmes, both satires on the Telangana legislators and chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekar Rao had applauded the MSOs for banning the two news channels, stating that they had no right to air programmes that insulted Telangana culture as well as showing Telangana legislators in poor light.¬† Ironically, the TDP had rallied huge protests against this move last year claiming that gagging the media was a violation of free speech with TDP MP Sujana Chowdary labeling it ‚Äúunconstitutional.‚ÄĚ Naidu has been in trouble ever since Revanth, who is a close aide of the chief minister, was arrested by the ACB on May 31 while he was offering Rs.50 lakh to Stephenson to make him vote for TDP-BJP candidate in legislative council elections.¬† ¬† (A screenshot from the video circulated on news channels) The ACB, which had laid the trap on a complaint by Stephenson, and the entire episode was recorded on a spy camera at Stephenson's house. ¬†The case took a dramatic twist on June 7 when an audio tape of Naidu's alleged telephonic conversation with Stephenson was aired on television channels.