Jaya TV has hit back at Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami's camp for what it alleged was a threat by the ruling faction to wrest control of it and a Tamil daily, backing AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran's camp.
The channel head's reaction comes in the wake of a party meet led by Chief Minister K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam wherein it was decided to initiate legal steps to ensure that party-backed media "Namathu Dr MGR" and "Jaya TV" "continued to hail" Jayalalithaa.
“It is seen as an attempt to wrest control of the media outlets from the Dhinakaran camp,” Chief Executive Officer of Jaya TV, Vivek Jayaraman, said on Monday, adding that the move was strongly condemnable.
"Jaya TV and Namathu Dr MGR (Tamil daily) are private companies... these firms cannot be taken over by anybody just like that," he said in a statement.
If the ruling camp sought to do it despite knowing that these were private entities, "It is an open threat to the channel which has won the admiration of the people." "How can the channel be acquired by a government or a political party?" he asked.
Claiming that the firm was facing indirect intimidation of "raids and cases," he said they had the courage and truth to back them to take on such threats.
"Since our function and accounts are honest we do not fear any pressure," he said and added that if "false cases are still foisted" on them, they would legally face it.
He said the company would oppose the "threat" with determination the way they had dealt with "indirect pressure." "Nobody need dream that they can make a company to bow before them by escalating pressure."
Asserting that the founding of Jaya TV nearly two decades ago was a "baptism by fire," he quoted late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa as having said that "the channel was swimming against hostile currents like Central government's troubles, political rivals and conspiracies from within and outside enemies."
However, he did not mention when the late leader had made such remarks. "I would like to give this (Jayalalaithaa's remarks) as my reply to all those working against Jaya TV."
Elaborating on indirect challenges faced by Jaya TV, he alleged that in regions, including Salem and Erode in Tamil Nadu, some were "blacking out" the channel. This was being done through a government run entity, he alleged.
Earlier in the day, the Palaniswami faction's meet had said, "Jaya TV and the daily were launched following efforts of Jayalalithaa and the contribution of lakhs of party workers and therefore they are our party's assets."
Ever since the confrontation began between the Palaniswami and Dhinakaran factions, the two media outlets have openly sided with the Sasikala camp.