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NBDA urges Andhra Govt to intervene as cable operators block news channels

The News Broadcasters and Digital Authority (NBDA) issued a statement on Monday, stating that the Cable TV Operators Association of Andhra Pradesh blocked the carriage signals of Sakshi TV, an NBDA member, and three other news broadcasters including NTV, TV9, and 10TV, without citing any reason. Following this, the NBDA requested the newly-elected Chandrababu Naidu-led government to intervene and urge the cable operators to reconsider their decision.

NBDA stated that the cable operators allegedly blocked the signals of the aforementioned channels as they had criticised Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party (TDP).

“NBDA seeks the intervention of the Government of Andhra Pradesh to urge the cable operators to review their stand and avoid a situation of confrontation which is not in the interest of the stakeholders nor in the public interest,” it said in the statement.

“No reasons have been attributed for blocking the signals of these channels, contrary to the TRAI regulations. It is alleged that the action taken against the channels is in connection with their reporting criticising the TDP, which defeated the incumbent Yuvajana Sramika Rythu (YSR) Congress Party in state-level elections,” the statement read further.

A ‘Dangerous Precedent’ & ‘Threat To Freedom Of Press’
Emphasising that the step taken by the cable operators does align with the interests of the broadcasters, media, or the public, NBDA stated that this move sets a “dangerous precedent”.

It further said that the political parties must recognise broadcasters’ freedom to decide what to telecast, adding that this “editorial freedom cannot be subject to any interference.”

NBDA stated that the interference by cable operators in the working of the broadcasters would lead the media to lose its independence, and would violate Article 19(1)(a), and Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India.

“Boycott of channels is not the way forward and alludes to a threat to the freedom of the press,” NBDA stressed.

Requesting the Naidu government to strive towards upholding the principles of a free and independent press, NBDA urged the government to take necessary action to ensure all the broadcasters can operate without any interference.

“The public’s right to access diverse sources of news is fundamental to a healthy democracy, and any attempts to silence the media must be swiftly addressed and rectified,” NBDA stated. ABP Live

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