Andhra based TV5 news channel charged with Sedition, moves Supreme Court against FIR; claims “chilling effect” on media

TV5 news channel based out of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana has moved the Supreme Court against the First Information Report (FIR) registered against it by Andhra Pradesh Police for sedition and other charges after it telecast “offending speeches” made by YSR Congress lawmaker, Kanumuri Raghurama Krishnam Raju.
The petition filed late on Sunday evening through advocate Vipin Nair challenged the FIR which the news channel claimed to be the result of telecasting a number of allegedly offensive speeches made by Raju, a Member of Parliament from the ruling party of Andhra Pradesh (YSRCP).
According to the FIR, the offending speeches of Raju were broadcast by a number of media outlets, including that of the petitioner.
Aside from the FIR, the news channel also sought quashing of the Enquiry Report of May 14, 2021, which was the basis of the FIR.
In addition the Petitioner sought stay on consequential investigation and and an order restraining the Police from taking any coercive action against the petitioner company, its news channels, or their employees.
The news channel submitted that it has approached the Supreme Court since main accused, Raju, was reportedly arrested in pursuance of the FIR and suffered custodial torture at the hands of the Police.
The TV channel contended that it could meted out the same treatment if the Supreme Court does not intervene on an urgent basis.
“The FIR seeks to criminalise the act of airing the views of a sitting Member of Parliament, who is a public figure, in a news channel; which is not only clearly violative of the petitioner’s right to freedom of speech and expression and also creates a chilling effect for media houses in the state,” contended the plea.
Further, the TV channel contended that the FIR “miserably fails” to establish any nexus of TV5 to any of the alleged offences.
“The FIR against TV5 is premised on the fact that there were premediated and organised slots given to Mr. Raju, which is not substantiated in the FIR and even otherwise cannot be termed as a criminal act as public figures are often hosted at designated time slots in news channels,” submitted the news channel.

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