Eenadu Vs Sakshi: Telugu Newspapers Fight In Court; SC Issues Notice To Andhra Pradesh Government On Petition Challenging GO
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court sent a notice regarding a petition filed by Ushodaya Publications, the owner of Eenadu, a prominent Telugu newspaper. The petition challenges a Government Order (GO) that, it states, is allegedly designed to boost the sales of Sakshi, newspaper in ruler areas.
Sakshi newspaper, said the petitioner, is owned by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy.
The matter was heard by a bench consisting of CJI DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha, and Justice JB Pardiwala.
The GO in question authorized an additional financial support of Rs.200/- per month from the State funds for each Gram Volunteer/Ward Volunteer to help them purchase a widely circulated Telugu newspaper which provides the volunteers “more knowledge and awareness on contemporary issues and various government welfare schemes,” stated the petition.
Initially, the petitioner, Ushodaya Publications, had approached the Andhra Pradesh High Court seeking an ex parte ad interim direction to suspend or stay the operation of the contested GO.
However, the High Court had declined to stay the GO, stating that there was lack of evidence to support the claim that the GO mandated Gram Volunteers/Ward Volunteers and others to subscribe to Sakshi.
Appearing for the petitioner in the apex court, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said: “The AP government deliberately fixed the additional charge of Rs 200/month to suit the monthly subscription charges of Sakshi newspaper in order to overthrow Eenadu‘s circulation.”
Charges for subscription of, Rohatgi informed, Sakshi was at Rs.176.50/month whereas charges of Eenadu was at Rs.207.50/month.
“The government has also said that Eenadu is yellow journalism and don’t go for it. This is state propoganda! See the CM’s remarks… He has a running battle with Chandrababu (Naidu), his opposition. I am not concerned, I’ve been running for 75 years…He is saying Eenadu is yellow journalism, it’s a front for Chandrababu,” Rohatgi added.
The Supreme Court has served a notice to the Andhra Pradesh government, asking it to respond by 10 April.
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