Jagan Mohan Reddy’s media companies and journalists employed by them filed four writ petitions in the AP High Court Monday seeking cancellation of the government order stopping ads to them. The petitions are likely to come up for hearing before the vacation court Wednesday.
The respondents cited are the principal secretary in the General Admin Department, the commissioner of information and public relations and the Central Bureau of Investigation.
The Kiran Kumar Reddy government issued GO 2097 on May 9 withholding the release of advertisements from all government departments, agencies, public sector undertakings, corporations and organizations to Jagati Publications, publisher of Sakshi newspaper, Indira TV, owner of Sakshi TV, and Janani Infrastructure from whose premises the media houses operate.
The Jagan companies said the government order violates Article 14 of the Constitution and wanted a restoration of the ads. About 15 employees of Jagati Publications joined their managements in challenging the government directive. The employees, who included assistant editors, senior news editors and special correspondents, said their managements had never interfered in the news content disseminated by the newspaper or channel.
Sakshi newspaper editor V Murali contended that the government’s action was clearly an attempt to muzzle freedom of the press. He pointed out that the FIR and chargesheet filed by the CBI would indicate that some of the allegations relate to the acts of the government, which would therefore be a co-accused.