Continuing its act of threatening and intimidating journalists and media networks, the Shiv Sena on 10 September asked local cable operators in Maharashtra to pull down both English and Hindi channels of Republic Media Network or face consequences.
In a letter issued on 10 September, the Shiv Cable Sena, an affiliate to Shiv Sena, has asked the cable TV operators to ban Republic Media Network in the state. The Shiv Sena has issued veiled threats to the cable operators to ban the Arnab Goswami-led media network or face consequences.
Shiv Sena’s crackdown on Republic TV follows the channel’s hysterical coverage of Sushant Singh Rajput’s case, firing in all directions from the theories of nepotism and depression to those of suicide and murder. Recently, the Shiv Sena-led BMC also demolished the city-based office of Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut who has been using the Republic channels to stay in news constantly.
Shiv Sena’s letter to the main cable operators Hathaway, Den, In Cable, GTPL, Seven Star, City cables any many others states that Republic has violated journalistic ethics and guidelines by repeatedly using “non-respectful” language for Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, home minister and holding a ‘parallel court’ in Arnab Goswami’s newsroom.
The Shiv Cable Sena mentions Sanjay Raut as their ‘chief guide’.
Following the attempts by Shiv Sena to crackdown on their freedom of speech, the Republic Media Network has issued a statement saying that the Shiv Cable Sena which is part of the Shiv Sena wing issued an order under the “guidance from Sanjay Raut”. The order issues an open threat to cable operators across Maharashtra to ban Republic Bharat or face consequences, the Republic TV added.
“To use ruling party machinery and systems of intimidation to try and block a news channel from reaching its viewers is a brazen violation under Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution of India. This outright attempt to block Republic Bharat is an onslaught on a free press and reflects an Emergency mindset which is an anachronism in our times and an antonym to this great democracy.”
The media network said that they will fight tooth and nail to defend their right to report and right to reach the viewers in every home. The media network added that they wanted to shut the Republic’s questions and wants to block Republic’s reportage.
However, they cannot block Republic TV as the people of India are with us, the media network said in its statement.
The continued threats and intimidation by the ruling Shiv Sena against Republic TV and its chief Arnab Goswami comes amidst its extensive coverage into the lapses of Maharashtra government on various issues including the way it handled the suicide case of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput and Palghar Hindu Lynching case.
Following its extensive coverage on critical issues, the media network is being hounded by the state government. Just a few days back, Shiv Sena had moved two breach of privilege motions against Arnab Goswami, accusing him of attempting to malign the image of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
On 9 September, Republic TV had reported that in a massive crackdown against the right to report, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra had arrested and jailed the reporting team of Republic TV for carrying out an investigative assignment in Karjat in Raigad. The Shiv Sena-led government had allegedly arrested Republic TV team had jailed them without letting them avail legal recourse.