Bengaluru: The leading Kannada news channel in Karnataka TV9 and NEWS9 are facing the ban by the Karnataka State Cable TV Association from Monday 6 PM onwards.
The official notification message which being circulated by Karnataka State Cable TV Association reads – “Dear MSO’s, It has been noticed that from long time TV9 channel has been working against the interest of our industry, and has been unnecessarily carrying propaganda against the government which has its direct impact on us by taking the government headon.
As you are all well aware that we are approaching government to provide us right of way for our optic fiber accross our networks, and also help us by not increasing the taxes, and fortunately the government is also responding positively. Today already we the LMO’S and MSO’S are facing the brunt of digitisation, we are in no situation to take more increase on taxes and other costs on ROW.
Please be informed that our representative had spoken to TV9 official repeatedly requesting them not to propagate such anti government activities but in vain, Hence we from KSCOA request you all to switch off TV9 and News9 from 06:00pm today (25th Nov) until further notice.
However the channel authorities alleged that it was taken off air on Monday night following a directive issued by an influential minister in the state government, channel authorities alleged.
The channel, which is expected to hold a press conference on the issue on Tuesday, said it was supposed to run an expose against the Congress government at 9:30pm in the prime-time segment.
Several cable operators boycotted the channel just before the scheduled telecast time of the programme, according to the channel.
“The action of the cable operators emanates from a meeting between them and Karnataka minister for energy DK Shivakumar a few days ago, at which the minister ordered them to stop telecasting TV9 and NEWS9,” a press release issued by the channel said.
“He threatened them that the government will impose heavy penalties on them if they did not stop telecasting TV9 and News9.”
Chief minister Siddaramaiah’s office told media that he had refused to react to the controversy.
Patrick Raju, president of the Karnataka State Cable Operator Association (KSCOA), states that the channel was taken off air as “they carry too much news about Telugu films and focus a lot on the Telugu speaking population. We think their news is not relevant in Karnataka. They also carry negative news about cable operators often,” he told to reporters.
Owners of TV channels in Karnataka will hold a meeting with CM Siddaramaiah by today.
The trend of state government’s intolerance towards news channels and using the MSOs as a weapon to arm-twist the news channel from reporting administrative inabilities and exposing scams and other shortcomings, is catching up from one state government to another, as TV9 is facing similar problem with Telengana Government headed by KCR family.
It may be noted that recently the Karnataka CM Siddharamaiah lambasted the Media for the extensive coverage of a school girl rape incident stating “media has no news in this world other than rape”.