Television

Puthiya Thalaimurai's office bombed; I&B state minister condemns attack

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MUMBAI: News is a tough business is something we all know. But it can be life threatening too.  That's something journalists at Tamil news channel Puthiya Thalaimurai must be feeling.

The channel's office in Chennai was attacked by four men on two motorcycle who hurled crude bombs packed in a lunch box at 3 am on Thursday morning. No one was inured nor was there any damage to Puthiya Thailaimura's office.

Media reports indicate that the channel had become the target of fringe right wing fundamentalist groups who had been threatening its management ever since it aired promos about a programme debating the importance of mangalsutra in India. A cameraman working for the channel was assaulted earlier this week by some protesters who had gathered  outside its office.

The channel's management decided to not go ahead with the telecast, say reports, and sought police protection. Even though that was provided, it did not deter the attackers.

The attack led to protests from journalists associations in Chennai who protested that media freedom was increasingly coming under pressure in India. While earlier, it was restricted to print media, it had now extended to TV reporters too.

The police announced later in the evening that it had identified the six attackers from CCTV footage and arrested them.  All the suspects reportedly belonged to Hindu Illaignar Sena, a little-known outfit functioning from Koyambedu, in Chennai.

Union Minister of state for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore later in the day told PTI that the the act against Puthiya Thailaimura's office was “unacceptable”.

He told the news service that “this is not acceptable in our country. The programmes of television are governed by a programe code which is part of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994. Viewers are free to write to us (I&B ministry), to the News Broadcasters Association, Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC) or to Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) if its regarding any advertisement if they feel. Nobody is allowed to take law in his hand. ”

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