Controversy
‘The singling out of Revathi for arrest by Telangana police smacks of political vendetta and an assault on freedom of speech of journalists,’ the Network of Women in Media said.

The Hyderabad chapter of the Network of Women in Media (NWMI) has condemned the arrest of journalist and former Mojo TV CEO, Revathi Pogadadanda, by the city police on Friday.

“We, as journalists working in Telangana, are dismayed at the manner in which Revathi Pogadadanda was arrested and remanded. Revathi has been vocal in opposing the controversial takeover of Mojo TV, of which she was CEO, a few weeks back. Earlier too, Revathi has alleged that the state government has been harassing her,” a statement from the NWMI read.

“The singling out of Revathi for arrest by Telangana police smacks of political vendetta and is an assault on freedom of speech of journalists, and their right to defend the independence of media. We urge Telangana police to refrain from such intimidation of journalists in the state as this case seems to have set a new precedent to the attacks on journalists,” it adds.

Revathi was arrested on Friday evening after a case was registered against her under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The case was registered based on a complaint by a guest who had appeared on the channel in January for a debate on the entry of women into Sabarimala temple in Kerala. Revathi was moderating the discussion along with another anchor, Raghu, who got into a heated argument with a guest, identified as Varaprasad.

“The clip of the show clearly shows that as anchor Revathi merely brought the discussion back to the topic of rights of women when it got diverted to a verbal altercation between co-anchor Raghu and the guest, Varaprasad,” the NWMI statement says.

“Significantly, the Hyderabad police chose to arrest Revathi on a Friday, leaving her with no possibility of securing bail till Monday. She was remanded to 14 days in judicial custody in the case. Such a detention is a blatant excess when Revathi as a journalist has been in Hyderabad and was not posing either the threat of tampering with evidence or was not absconding. This is a clear case of intimidation of journalists,” the statement adds.

The statement has been signed by journalists Uma Sudhir, Melly Maitreyi, C Vanaja, Rehana Begum, Professor Padmaja Shaw and others.

Revathi has been alleging harassment by the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS)-led state government for the last few months, ever since a case of forgery was booked against her mentor Ravi Prakash, the former CEO of Associated Broadcasting Company Private Limited (ABCPL), the parent company of news channel TV9.

She has also alleged that influential businessman Jupally Rameshwar Rao, owner of real estate company My Home Group, who is known to be close to various politicians including Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, was involved in this harassment.

Read the full statement of NMWI below.

Condemn the arrest of journalist Revathi Pogadadanda

The Hyderabad police arrested the former Chief Executive Officer of Telugu media outlet Mojo TV, Revathi Pogadadanda under the SC, ST Prevention of Atrocities Act. An invitee to a TV debate on Sabarimala issue in January, Mr Varaprasad, filed the case naming four individuals then associated with the Mojo TV programme, naming Revathi second in the FIR. The FIR mentions two counts under which the case was registered, Section 504 of IPC (which is non-cognizable and bailable) and 3 (1) of SC ST Prevention of Atrocities Act 2015.

The clip of the show clearly shows that as anchor Revathi merely brought the discussion back to the topic of rights of women when it got diverted to a verbal altercation between co-anchor Raghu and the guest, Varaprasad.

Significantly, the Hyderabad police chose to arrest Revathi on a Friday, leaving her no possibility of securing bail till Monday. She was remanded to 14 days judicial custody in the

case. Such a detention is a blatant excess when Revathi as a journalist has been in Hyderabad and was not posing either the threat of tampering with evidence or absconding. This is a clear case of intimidation of journalists.

We, as journalists working in Telangana, are dismayed at the manner in which Revathi Pogadadanda was arrested and remanded. Revathi has been vocal in opposing the controversial take-over of Mojo TV, of which she was CEO, a few weeks back. Earlier too Revathi has alleged that the state government has been harassing her.

The singling out of Revathi for arrest by Telangana police smacks of political vendetta and an assault on freedom of speech of journalists, and their right to defend the independence of media.

We urge Telangana police to refrain from such intimidation of journalists in the Telangana state as this case seems to have set a new precedent to the attacks on journalists.

 

NWMI Hyderabad chapter

Signed by

Uma sudheer, Journalist

Melli Maitreyi, Journalist

C Vanaja, Indepnenent Journalist

Proffessor Padmaja shaw

S. Rama, journalist

V. Yashoda, journalist

Rajeswari Kalyanam

Vedavathi Kiranmayi, Journalist

Rubeena Parveen, Journalist

Sandhya Srikanth,  Journalist

Aruna C, Journalist/ Photographer

Rehana Begum, Journalist

Savitri, Journalist

Aruna Atthaluri, Journalist

Surya kumara, Journalist

Padma Vangapally, Journalist

Madavi Kala, Journalist

Swaroopa Potlapalli, Journalist

Aravinda, Journalist

Thulasi, Journalist

Sumabala, Journalist

Nirmala Reddy, Journalist

Anuradha Raparla, Media Professional

Dhanya Rajendran, Journalist

 

Read: Hyd cops detain journalist and former Mojo TV CEO Revathi, she alleges harassment