Media action group launched in Chennai

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on July 01, 2018 Published on July 01, 2018

Standing together (From left) Karthigaiselvan, Managing Editor, Puthiya Thalaimurai TV; Sowmya Anbumani, Managing Director, Makkal TV; N Ram, Chairman, The Hindu Publishing Group; Arun Ram, Editor, The Times of India; N Ravi, Publisher, The Hindu Group; and Florent C Pereira, Kalaignar TV, during the launch of the media action group in Chennai on Sunday   -  THE HINDU

Alliance for Media Freedom to monitor media freedom in Tamil Nadu


A cross-media advocacy and action group, called Alliance for Media Freedom, has been formed by senior journalists from various news-media houses to monitor the state of media freedom in Tamil Nadu. It will also advocate appropriate measures and work out effective action plans to safeguard media freedom and independence through legal and democratic means.

This was decided at an event, Media Consultation: Rights and Responsibilities in Chennai on Sunday. The event was attended by senior journalists, including N Ram, Chairman of The Hindu Publishing Group; N Ravi, Publisher, The Hindu Group; Sowmya Anbumani, Managing Director, Makkal TV; Arun Ram, Editor, The Times of India, and Karthigaiselvan, Managing Editor, Puthiya Thalaimurai.

To meet CM

The resolution passed at the meeting said a delegation led by N Ram, will soon call on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami to register “our concerns over the erosion of media freedom in the State and to press our demands”.

It was also resolved to represent issues highlighted in the statement to the News Broadcaster Association, which is the unified and collective voice of private news and current affairs broadcasters in India.

Journalists at the consultation strongly condemned the arbitrary and illegal official actions of the Tamil Nadu government against news outlets. They also urged the Tamil Nadu government to stop using its cable distribution company (Arasu Cable) to censor television news channels.

The Tamil Nadu government has been repeatedly using Arasu Cable as an instrument to arbitrarily and illegally penalise television news broadcasters for the ‘offence’ of covering people’s protests and for broadcasting comments and opinions not to the liking of the government, said the statement by the alliance.

This not only inhibits the free flow of information by creating or reinforcing a chilling effect, but also stifles freedom of expression, the statement added. The participants also urged the State government to immediately withdraw cases instituted against news channels and journalists legitimately exercising their fundamental right of freedom and expression, of which media freedom is an integral part.

The filing of a criminal case against Puthiya Thalaimurai television for hosting a debate is but one instance of a larger problem. They urged the State government to immediately ‘roll back’ these measures.

N Ram said Sunday’s consultation was about the media’s rights and social responsibilities. “We also have responsibilities. We will work out ourselves, professionally and through our own ethics. We don’t want it to be enforced from outside except by what is enforced by law.”

In the past, there have been instance of violations and attacks against the media. This is not new. However, the weakness is that there is no solidarity within the State’s media fraternity unlike in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi. “We expect solidarity in a much better way than in the past,” he said.

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Published on July 01, 2018
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