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TV9 apologises, asks Telangana to lift blockade

Hyderabad: Associated Broadcasting Company Private Limited (ABC), which promotes TV9 channels in different languages, has initiated steps to defuse its stand off with the multiple system operators (MSOs) in Telangana, as the latter’s ban on the telecast of the Telugu Channel has exceeded two months and adversely impacted its valuation.

The company has reached out to the MSOs to enter into an agreement even while offering unconditional apologies. The MSOs had refused to telecast TV9 and ABN Andhrajyothi, a channel promoted by the Telugu daily Andhra Jyothi, for the alleged anti-Telangana slant in their content since early June.

This had put ABC in a fix as it was firming up plans to show an exit route to its original promoting group, Peepul Capital, headed by serial entrepreneur Srini Raju, who holds about 65 per cent. “We will exit the media group in a month or two. They are in the process of finalising a plan expected to be completed soon,” Srini Raju, for whom this was one of the earliest investments, told Business Line on Thursday evening.

“A new investor will buy our stake in the company,” he added.

Origin of the problem
The trouble started within days of the TRS Government taking reigns in Telangana. In a programme, the channel allegedly portrayed members of the Assembly in poor light, triggering widespread protests. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao made a statement in the House, condemning the programme.

The MSOs responded quickly and blacklisted TV9 and ABN Andhrajyothi. TV9, however, apologised to the House hours before the channel went off air.

The ABC management has written to the Telangana State Federation of MSOs for discussions.

Source: Business Line

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