SP denies banning channels for criticising CM

SP denies banning channels for criticising CM

The Samajwadi Party on Tuesday denied reports that two TV channels were banned by the state government for criticising Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. Problems in their transmission were attributed to technical factors.

“We believe in freedom of speech and expression. There is no question of banning any channel,” party spokesman and Uttar Pradesh Minister for Jail Rajendra Chaudhary told reporters here.

He said there might be some “technical problems” in transmission. Chaudhary’s remarks came amid reports that the Uttar Pradesh government had ordered cable operators to unplug two channels for “misreporting” on the Saifai festival, concluded recently in Etawah.

The two channels alleged that the cable operators had stopped beaming their programmes following “informal” orders by the government.

Only a couple of days ago, Yadav had lashed out at the media for criticising the Saifai festival. He had singled out a Hindi daily for claiming that Rs 300 crore was spent on the festival. He demanded an apology and said the reporter concerned should be punished.

An angry chief minister had also accused the media of using “objectionable” words in its coverage. He claimed it was a “cultural festival” aimed at promoting local culture and tourism. 

Later, senior minister Azam Khan also came down heavily on the media, especially the TV channels, terming them “anti-Muslim” for criticising foreign visits by several Uttar Pradesh ministers, including himself. He called it “blade journalism”.

“A large section of the media, especially the electronic media, is anti-Muslim. The media cannot digest the fact that a Muslim (Azam Khan) is leading a delegation of ministers,” said Khan, who was the leader of the state’s Commonwealth Parliamentary Association group that toured seven nations.

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