Attackers' butt of ire continues undeterred on Alpha Marathi

MUMBAI: Political satire Ghadlay Bighadlay, which allegedly provoked NCP party workers into storming the Zee office yesterday, continues to air.

Undeterred, Alpha Marathi, the Zee channel that telecasts the show, will focus tonight's epiosode on yesterday's incident. "We are a news channel, just like any other media company our duty is to report and we will continue to do that. People cannot get away with taking the press rights from the media," says Essel Group's vice-president, corporate brand development (CBDG) Ashish Kaul.

Says Kaul, "We aired it yesterday as well and will continue with it. Like every other programme on the channel, we have an internal screening process, which is more than enough." Alpha Marathi business head, who rushed back to Mumbai from Kolhapur yesterday, after hearing about the ransacking, says spoofs on television should be taken in the right spirit, as did the others who were satirised in the same episode.

"Political satires have been on screen for a long time now. Does the attack mean that you have to chuck the satire genre altogether?" Kaul queries.

As for the damage incurred at the Chintamani Plaza offices of Zee, the valuers have already made an assessment of the damage, and the financial estimate of the loss should be available later today. Kaul says the guard who was hospitalised yesterday after he suffered injuries during the ransacking has been declared out of danger; another staffer Carol D'souza is now recuperating at home. As for the rest of Zee staffers, it's work as usual today.

Meanwhile, the Indian Broadcasting Foundation has condemned the attack on the staff and office of Zee TV, saying it is an attack on the freedom of expression.

"All the political parties need to appreciate the gravity of such unruly, undemocratic and rowdy behaviour by a group of people, allegedly supporters of a political party. We demand that exemplary punishment be meted out to these people both by the law of the land and the concerned political party so that such shameful incidents do not recur," the IBF says in a release.

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