Journalists protest arrest of TV channel editors

Police arrested dozens of media persons who staged a demonstration here. Indian Journalists Union secretary Srinivas Reddy met Chief Minister K. Rosaiah and lodged a protest with him. "We condemn the arrests of the two editors. While they are available for any probe, the police are treating them like criminals by arresting them and keeping them in custody throughout the night," Srinivas told reporters.

Crime Investigation Department (CID) on Friday night arrested TV 5 executive editor Brahmananda Reddy and input editor Venkat Krishna for airing the story based on a report in a Russian website. The police also booked two other channels, including Sakshi, owned by YSR's son and Kadapa MP Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy. While TV 5 was the first to telecast the story, Sakshi and NTV followed suit.

Cases under sections 153 A (Promoting enmity between different groups and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 505 (2) (making statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 16 of the Cable TV Networks Regulation Act, 1995, were registered against all the three TV  channels, police said.

The report sparked violence in the state and attacks on Reliance stores on Thursday night as it alleged that the company had a role in the helicopter crash that killed YSR.

Director General of Police R.R. Girish Kumar said 114 cases were registered and 289 people were arrested in connection with the attacks on Reliance outlets and properties.
He said some news channels telecast the news story based on a publication in a foreign website of "doubtful veracity, without verifying its credentials or the credibility of the information".

Meanwhile, a police officer in Anantapur town, Narsingappa, was suspended for failing to protect a Reliance outlet when a mob attacked it. Meanwhile, the state Congress leadership has issued a show cause notice to NSUI state president Vamshichand Reddy, who allegedly sent an SMS to NSUI workers to attack Reliance outlets after TV channels aired the story.

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