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Delhi High Court orders to restore the transmission of news channels taken off-air in AP

The News Broadcasters Federation applauded the decision stating that the landmark order addressing the unilateral and illegal blackout of news channels in Andhra Pradesh, reinforces the fundamental principles of freedom of speech and expression, which are cornerstones of a democratic society

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New Delhi: Delhi High Court issued an order directing approximately 15 multi-system operators to restore the transmission of TV9 Telugu, Saakshi TV, 10TV, and NTV news channel, among others, which had been taken off-air from June 6, 2024, in Andhra Pradesh. 

News Broadcasters Federation applauded the decision stating that the landmark order addressing the unilateral and illegal blackout of news channels in Andhra Pradesh, reinforces the fundamental principles of freedom of speech and expression, which are cornerstones of a democratic society.

“We commend the Delhi High Court for its steadfast commitment to safeguarding constitutional rights and promoting a free and independent media. This decision is a victory for democracy and a reminder of the vital role that judicial oversight plays in preserving our fundamental freedoms,” the NBF said in a statement.

The channels were taken off air due to alleged coercion by the Telugu Desam Party-led government in the state, claimed YSRCP’s S Niranjan Reddy in a letter addressed to the TRAI. He further alleged that the channels were blocked ‘without any lawful justification or procedural compliance’.

The blackout of several news channels in Andhra Pradesh, including TV9 Telugu, Saakshi TV, 10TV, and NTV on June 6, 2024, raised concerns about press freedom. The News Broadcasters Federation highlighted the reports of political pressure being brought upon all the cable operators to blackout these news channels, due to a change in political leadership in Andhra Pradesh.

“The High Court's intervention underscores the importance of maintaining an open and transparent media environment, essential for the functioning of a healthy democracy. The order mandates the immediate restoration of the affected news channels, ensuring that the people of Andhra Pradesh can once again access a broad spectrum of news and viewpoints,” the News Broadcasters Federation, added.

At the Delhi High Court, TV9 submitted that the disconnection was illegal and against the interconnection agreement signed with the distribution companies, as per rules laid down by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

“News Broadcasters Federation will continue to advocate for the rights of journalists and the free flow of information. We urge the government and regulatory bodies to take proactive measures to prevent such blackouts in the future and to ensure that media channels can operate without undue interference,” the statement highlighted.

Andhra Pradesh TRAI Cable TV News Broadcasters Federation TDP YSCRP
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