Press Council of India chairman, Justice (retd) Markandey Katju, has termed the reported threats to the media by Telangana CM K C Rao as ‘highly improper, highly objectionable, and totally unacceptable in a democracy’. He has also asked Telangana government, and the Cable Operators Association, to immediately withdraw the suspension orders of two channels, one of which had reportedly telecast ‘derogatory statements’ which had angered the CM.
Katju took note of Rao’s recent statement that he would ‘break the necks and bury the media ten kilometers underground’, in response to allegedly derogatory statements against some Telangana MLAs by certain regional channels. Katju said that if indeed such statements were made, they were ‘improper’ and media should ‘desist from using it’. But he added that he had been told that the channel had apologized directly as well as in letters to the Speaker and MLAs of the Telangana assembly.
But questioning the response of the CM, Katju said, “What kind of language is this?” He termed it ‘highly offensive, totally unwarranted and most inappropriate’. He added that under pressure of the state government, the Cable Operators had suspended two channels, TV 9 and ABN Andhra Jyoti ‘although ABN Jyoti had not even telecast such derogatory remarks’. He called for withdrawal of the suspension so that channels could resume service soon. “Freedom of media is guaranteed under the constitution and cannot be validly suppressed in this manner.”