The Andhra Pradesh Police has issued notice to metropolis-based mostly news channel T News owned by Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s family, for airing an audio tape containing purported dialog between Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and nominated Telangana MLA Elvys Stephenson, saying it “will harm the emotions of Telugu-talking individuals” in each the states. The notices that were served late on Friday night evoked criticism from both the channel management and the media fraternity of Telangana. The channel has also called for a protest in front of AP DGP’s office, Secretariat and all district headquarters on Saturday.
The notice issued by the Assistant Commissioner of Police of Visakhapatnam asks the channel to reply within three days why legal action should not be taken against it for defamatory material that ‘violated public decency’ and ‘disturbed tranquility and maintenance of law and order.’
Police Notice to KCR Family-Run Channel:
Mr Naidu has claimed the tape was doctored and his phone was tapped. Mr Naidu and K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) have traded charges in what is being called the cash-for-vote scandal.
“Since the programme telecast on June 7 at around 8.30 pm contained material disturbing the public tranquillity, affecting the maintenance of law and order as it in violation of Section 5 and Rule 6 of cable TV news network Act, as the programme is defamatory deliberate, false with suggestive innuendos and half-truths,” the notice read.
The audio tape pertained to a purported talk between Naidu and the nominated MLA relating to alleged attempts by TDP to woo his support for the party nominee in Telengana Legislative Council polls.
Telangana TDP MLA Revanth Reddy and two others were arrested and remanded for allegedly trying to bribe the nominated MLA. The airing of the audio tape has led to a slugfest between the TDP and TRS, the ruling parties in Anhdra Pradesh and Telangana respectively.
Reacting to the notice, T News Channel CEO Narayan Reddy said AP police has no right to issue notices even before verifying authenticity of the footage scientifically.
“We are going to lodge a complaint with the President, Prime Minister, Governor and Press Council of India. Issuing the notice itself is wrong. AP Police has not right to issue such notice. They cannot curtail the freedom of press,” Reddy told PTI.
Condemning the police’s transfer, Telangana Union of Working Journalists in assertion requested scribes to “increase the voice towards this undemocratic, unconstitutional and disrespectful strategy of AP CM”.