A legal notice was served on Saturday against chief minister, YS Rajasekhara Reddy, by V Radha Krishna, MD of Telugu daily 'Andhra Jyothi'. In his legal notice, Krishna demanded damages to the tune of Rs 50 crore to be paid within ten days.
A legal notice was served on Saturday (June 28) against him by V Radha Krishna, managing director of Telugu daily ’Andhra Jyothi’, whose editor K Srinivas and two other scribes were arrested last week, under the provisions of SC/ST (Atrocities Prevention) Act, 1989.
The arrest has enabled the newspaper management, which was locked in ’isolated battle’ against the chief minister since some time, to receive widespread support and sympathy nation-wide from all quarters.
Chief minister said that he is yet to receive the notice and he will respond only after receiving the same. He commented if he had to issue such notices to the same newspaper management for the damaging news published from time to time, the defamation amount would amount to Rs 500 crore.
In his legal notice, Krishna demanded damages to the tune of Rs 50 crore to be paid within ten days, failing to which, appropriate legal action would be initiated. The newspaper owner took advantage from the allegations of chief minister that the leader of opposition, N Chadnrababu Naidu had invested in the newspaper.
The notice, sent to the chief minister on June 26 by Radhakrishna’s advocate on behalf of M/s Aamoda Publications Private Limited, the publishers of Andhra Jyoti, quoted Reddy’s press conference in Delhi
on June 19, 2008, alleging that former chief minister Chandrababu Naidu had invested in ’Andhra Jyothi’.
He also quoted that the chief minister’s similar allegations on July 24, 2007, on the floor of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly that ’Andhra Jyothi is Naidu’s own paper’. On the same day, the managing director refuted the charges and challenged the chief minister to prove it.
Krishna claimed that this act has tainted his image and damaged the reputation of the newspaper and intends to hit the owner of the newspaper in order to cause indirect benefit to someone else.
The legal notice alleged that chief minister has been resorting to such ’false and baseless’ allegation against Andhra Jyothi only to help his son’s daily newspaper, which was started recently.
It may be recalled that since becoming chief minister, Reddy has been accusing that `two newspapers’, referring to largest circulated Telugu daily ’Eenadu’ and ’Andhra Jyothi’, have been carrying false stories against his government with ’false and baseless’ corrupt allegations on his family members and also on his government.
He initiated actions against the financial institutions of Eenadu group chairman, Ch Ramoji Rao and also acquired some portion of land from Ramoji Film Studio alleging it was ’assigned’ land.
When Reddy’s government stopped issuing government advertisements to Andhra Jyothi, its MD approached the high court, which directed the government to release advertisements as per normal procedure.
To counter the influence of these two newspapers, chief minister’s son Y S Jaganmohan Reddy started a new daily news paper `Sakshi’ in Telugu in Feburary, this year. He will also start a new TV news channel soon.
Meanwhile, senior journalists and editors of various newspapers and electronic channels called upon the media not to cross the ’Lakshman Rekha’ while discharging its duties. Speaking at a round table conference on the freedom of the press organised by Jana Chaitanya Vedika in Hyderabad, on Sunday (June 29), they stressed that the media is on the need to promptly carry clarifications when mistakes are made.
Strongly condemning the attack on the Telugu daily `Andhra Jyothi’, by MRPS activities, many of them said had Manda Krishna Madiga chosen peaceful way of protesting against the newspaper, many of them would have joined them.
Stressing the need to fight unitedly against the attacks like the one on ’Andhra Jyothi’, some speakers wondered why champions of `free media’ were silent when Reddy’s government unleashed more severe attacks on Eenadu group.
Senior journalist, Potturi Venkateswara Rao, suggested that media organisations should constitute a separate cell of ombudsmen to get feedback when they err. He also said that the state government should refrain from vindictive uses of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.