CHENNAI: DMK President M Karunanidhi today said Centre's rejection of applications for Sun TV Group, owned by his grand nephew Kalanithi Maran, to participate in Phase III of FM auctions amounted to "strangulating democracy" and asked the government to reconsider its decision.
"Based on unproven allegations, with no proper explanation made on threat to national security, Centre denying permission to media organisations like Sun Group (to participate in the auction) amounts to strangulating democracy," he said.
Karunanidhi said Centre should, to uphold the Freedom of Expression guaranteed under the Constitution of India, "immediately reconsider" its decision.
The DMK patriarch also referred to voices supporting the Maran-promoted company, including broadcasters' associations.
He also cited Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi's statement supporting grant of security clearance to 33 channels of Sun TV Network. Rohatgi had said corruption cases being investigated against the network's promoter cannot be a ground to deny it security clearance.
"Sun TV's five applications being rejected is condemnable," he said in a statement here.
Earlier, the Application Review Committee of Information and Broadcasting Ministry had rejected the applications of the companies belonging to the Sun TV group, which had failed to get a security clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Security clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs is a necessary condition to apply for the FM auctions.
Subsequently, five companies of the Kalanithi Maran promoted Sun TV group will not be able to participate in the Phase III FM auctions.