The media outlet in Andhra Pradesh on May 18, Tuesday, moved to the Supreme Court to file a contempt of court plea against the State of Andhra Pradesh. Andhra Pradesh police filed the FIR against the Andhra-based channel for publishing particular views on the mismanagement of the COVID situation. TV5, an Andhra Pradesh-based news channel, approached the Supreme Court to seek contempt proceedings against the State’s principal secretary, the chief secretary, and the additional DGP.
Advocate Vipin Nair filed the plea on behalf of M/s Shreya Broadcasting Pvt. Ltd. & Anr.
Andhra Based News channel “TV5” moves Supreme Court seeking quashing of the FIR under Sections 124A, 153A, 505 r/w 120B of the Indian Penal Code by Andhra Police against it pic.twitter.com/5q2UZYk7Z4
— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) May 17, 2021
The YSR MP K. Raghu Rama Krishna Raju made some allegations against the ruling government in Andhra Pradesh hosted by petitioners on the TV5 channel. And as a result, FIR was lodged against petitioners. The YSR MP K. Raghu Rama Krishna Raju was reportedly arrested for making such remarks and suffered custodial torture.
The plea filed by petitioners stated that if the Hon’ble court doesn’t intervene immediately, it is possible that petitioners would bear the same treatment given to the YSR MP. The plea also stated that FIR lodged against petitioners violates ‘Freedom of Speech and Expression.’ It said, “It is submitted that the FIR attempts to create a chilling effect for news channels in the State so that every news channel is wary of hosting any content which is critical of the government. By filing a vague FIR and abusing the process of law, the State intends to silence its critiques and the media, which is discharging its duty.”
The Supreme Court ordered that YSR MP, who is arrested, be taken to Army Hospital for medical examination.
According to the petitioner, the channel only laid the views and perspectives of the workers, ordinary citizens, including medical staff and experts on the current situation of COVID-19 and efforts to curb the second wave of the COVID-19 virus. Further, the petitioners added that the channel also threw light on the mismanagement of the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana governments.
Being offended by the views on television channels, the Andhra Pradesh government lodged an FIR against the media network and sedition charges on the channel’s editor. Advocate Vipin Nair, who appeared on behalf of petitioners, stated that FIR violated the judgment passed by the supreme court on April 30.
According to the order passed by the supreme court on April 30, the State and central government cannot threaten any citizen who aired their complaints on any media network or social platform. The bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah also stated that repetition of such actions would encourage the court to use the powers available under contempt jurisdiction.
The judgment stated, “It is with deep distress that we note that individuals seeking help on such platforms have been targeted, by alleging that the information posted by them is false and has only been posted on social media to create panic, defame the administration or damage the national image. We do not hesitate in saying that such targeting shall not be condoned, and the central government and state governments should ensure that they immediately cease any direct or indirect threats of prosecution and arrest to citizens who air grievances or those that are attempting to help fellow citizens receive medical aid.”
The court further added and warned, “If this does keep happening even after the current order, this court shall be constrained to use the powers available to it under its contempt jurisdiction. We also direct that all directors-general of police shall ensure compliance down the ranks of the police forces within their jurisdictions.”
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