HYDERABAD: For a second consecutive day, journalists from two Telugu news channels Wednesday staged a protest in front of Raj Bhavan here demanding the lifting of a ban on their channels in Telangana.
Police arrested about 70 employees of the two channels for staging a sit-in, seeking intervention of Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan.
The journalists of TV9 and ABN Andhra Jyoti and other mediapersons supporting them alleged that police arrested them although they had gathered peacefully in a bid to meet the governor.
The signals of the two channels have been blacked out by cable operators in Telangana since June after they telecast programmes allegedly ridiculing Telangana leaders.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government has clarified that it has not imposed ban on the channels but the Multi System Operators (MSOs) have blacked out their signals.
"We have nothing to do with it. Let them discuss the issue with MSOs and sort it out," said Information Technology Minister K. Tarakarama Rao.
Wearing black badges, the journalists Tuesday tried to disrupt Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhara Rao's visit to Warangal district. They also staged protest at his official residence in Hyderabad and also at Raj Bhavan.
They also lodged their protest during a press conference by Tarakarama Rao, son of the chief minister.
KCR, as the chief minister is popularly known, vent his anger when protesters tried to stop his convoy in Warangal.
He warned the Andhra media against denigrating Telangana, its culture, people and language. The TRS chief said that he salutes MSOs for not relaying the two channels.
The chief minister said the legislators in the Telangana assembly had moved a privilege motion against the two channels but clarified that the government has not imposed any ban.
"Those who want to live on Telangana soil should learn to respect the local culture, language and traditions," he said.
"If you insult our culture, you have no place here," he told the channels. "You brand public representatives as drunken monkeys, describe them as lumpens. Is this freedom of the press?"
MPs from the Telugu Desam Party, the ruling party in Andhra Pradesh, had raised the issue of ban in parliament last month. Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar promised to call a meeting of MSOs to sort out the issue.