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TV news channels blocked in Karnataka.

The government should give afree hand to the media. If the government finds that the two channels are erring, it can approach the relevant regulatory authority for relief. --Janardhana Poojary, senior Congress leader

TWO NEWS channels -- TV9 Kannada and News 9 ( English) -- have been taken off air by cable television operators across Karnataka allegedly at the behest of the Karnataka government for sensationalising crime- related events and for performing sting operations on one of its controversial ministers.

The TV channels, owned by a Hyderabadbased company, have alleged that its popular channels have been taken off air since Monday night by the cable TV operators. However, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah denied any role of the state government in the issue.

This has led to showdown between leaders within the Congress as its senior leader Janardhana Poojary lambasted the government.

" The cable operators have no reason to block these two channels unless the government has instructed them to do so. The government should realise that this is leading to Fascism in the state. The government should give a free hand to the media. If the government finds that the two channels are erring, then they can approach the relevant regulatory authority for relief," he said.

The television channels have blamed state's Energy Minister D. K. Shivakumar against whom they are carrying out a campaign.

Earlier this year, a sting operation conducted by the channels against Shivakumar backfired after the journalists were arrested for trying to bribe the minister as part of the operation.

There are charges of unauthorised land de- notification and illegal mining against Shivakumar who was inducted into the Cabinet reluctantly by Siddaramaiah nearly a year after the Congress assumed power in Karnataka.

The Bharatiya Janata Party leaders contended that the government had erred in directing the cable operators to block the two TV channels. " It appears that the government wants these TV channels to become the official mouthpieces of the Congress party. They do not want these channels to expose the misdeeds of the Congress government. This is nothing but muzzling the media for showing the truth on screen," said former deputy chief minister K. S. Eshwarappa.

But the Karnataka Cable TV Operators' Association has a different argument for taking the two channels off air. " There is too much of Telugu movie content on TV9 network channels.

Often, viewers have complained that the channels broadcast news that is not relevant to Karnataka," said Association president Patrick Raju, adding he or the members of the Association were not under pressure to block the two channels.

However, both the channels continue to remain available through DTH platforms.

The government should give a free hand to the media. If the government finds that the two channels are erring, it can approach the relevant regulatory authority for relief.

' ' -- Janardhana Poojary, senior Congress leader The channels have been taken off air across the state for " sensationalising crime related events.

Channels blame Cong govt for the ban Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah denied any role of the state government in the issue.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Nov 26, 2014
Words:521
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