Mumbai: The Shiv Sena has asked cable television operators in Maharashtra to take down Republic TV from their networks after its Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami allegedly insulted Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and for the channel conducting a “media trial”.
The party has threatened operators with protests if they fail to comply.
A letter dated 10 September was written to all major cable television distribution companies by Shivcable Sena, the party’s cable television operators’ wing.
Those that received the letter included operators such as Den Networks, Hathway, InCablenet, GTPL, JPR Network, BRDS Network, UCN City Cable, Rajesh Multichannel, Mauli Cable and Bahuvidh Yantrana Parichalak Cable.
Major operators such as the Den Networks has a reach of over 1.3 crore in the state while Hathway supplies network to around 72 lakh people.
“We are giving you a suggestion and warning that if you don’t immediately stop distributing Republic TV you will have to face severe agitation from the Shivcable Sena and many loyal Maharashtrians. Please take note of this,” read the letter, a copy of which was accessed by ThePrint.
‘Won’t tolerate Uddhav saheb’s insult’
Speaking to ThePrint, Vinay Raju Patil, secretary of the Shivcable Sena, said, “Arnab Goswami has on at least two occasions spoken about Uddhav saheb in derogatory terms. The prime minister, president and chief ministers are constitutional authorities.
“The chief minister’s post is the most superior in the state, and yet Arnab Goswami refers to him using casual language and openly challenges him. This is against the Indian Constitution. It is not just the Shiv Sainiks, even Maharashtra’s people will not tolerate this.”
He added, “Goswami has similarly disrespected State Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena leader) and the Mumbai Police and its chief. Why should cable television operators here broadcast such news for the state and rest of Maharashtra?”
Patil also said Thackeray has directed all party members to only act when law is on their side. “Here, law is on our side. Republic TV has insulted a constitutional authority.”
‘Republic TV violates journalistic ethics’
In its letter to the cable operators, the Shivcable Sena also said that Republic TV has been breaking the journalists’ code of ethics and conducting media trials for a long time.
“Maharashtra is blessed with a great tradition of journalism. It is expected that journalists put people’s problems before the government to find a solution while staying within the code of ethics of journalism,” the letter stated.
It further said, “But, since some time now Arnab Goswami, the editor-in-chief of Republic TV, has been violating this code and the Indian Constitution and running a parallel court on his channel.”
The Shivcable Sena is led by Sunil Raut, a Shiv Sena legislator and brother of the party’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut. Sanjay and State Transport Minister Anil Parab are listed as its “pramukh margadarshaks”.