Press Council of India (PCI) Chairperson Justice (retd) Markandey Katju on Thursday termed the reported comments made by Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao with regards to the media as “highly objectionable and totally unacceptable in a democracy”.
In a statement, the former Supreme Court judge said it is reported that Rao recently stated that he would break the necks and bury the media 10 kilometres underground, in response to some alleged derogatory remarks made against some MLAs by a certain regional Telugu TV channel.
Katju said that if indeed such derogatory remarks were made by the TV channel, they were improper, and the media should desist from using such remarks.
The PCI chairperson, however, said that he had been informed that the TV channel which allegedly made the derogatory remarks has repeatedly apologised for doing so, on their TV channel, through DTH service as well as in letters to the Speaker of the Telangana Assembly and all Telangana MLAs.
“However, as a reaction to these remarks of the TV channel, it is reported that the Chief Minister of Telangana has, from a public platform, stated that he will break the necks and bury the media 10 kilometers underground, if anybody tries to denigrate or hurt the self-respect of Telangana, it’s Legislative Assembly, or its culture.
“This statement of a Chief Minister, in my opinion, highly improper, highly objectionable and totally unacceptable in a democracy, particularly since it is coming from a person holding a high constitutional office,” Katju said.
He said that he has been informed that “under the pressure of the Telangana Government, the Cable Operators’ Associations (MSO) have suspended the telecast through the cable operators of two TV channels, TV 9 and ABN Andhra Jyothi (although ABN Andhra Jyothi had not even telecast such derogatory remarks, or any other derogatory remarks against Telengana MLAs)”.
“Freedom of the media is guaranteed by our Constitution, and cannot be validly suppressed in this manner,” he further added.