Sun TV plays neutral, beams Jaya, CM lives

After failing in their attempt to make peace with their grand uncle DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi, the Maran brothers have virtually declared war against the DMK leadership by telecasting live a public meeting addressed by his bete noire AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa in which she launched a vituperative attack on the octogenarian leader’s government, his cabinet colleagues and family members.

Much to the surprise of the AIADMK camp, the Sun News channel, owned by south India’s media baron, Kalanidhi Maran, chose to beam the meeting live, though the pro-AIADMK channel Jaya TV, which also runs a 24-hour news channel ‘Jaya Plus,’ did not show the meeting live. Sun TV, was used as a powerful tool against the then Jayalalithaa government. Furious with the live telecast of Jayalalithaa’s meeting, DMK party men are now demanding Dayanidhi Maran’s expulsion from the party.

However, the telecast of the AIADMK leader’s nearly hour-long fiery speech at her constituency Andipatti in Theni district on Sunday was interrupted by frequent “censorships” particularly when she referred to alleged irregularities by some members of Karunanidhi’s family.

While Jayalalithaa’s scathing attack on power minister Arcot N Veerasamy, who was viewed as the one responsible for burning bridges between Karunanidhi and the Maran brothers, was gleefully beamed, her reference to one of his ‘grandsons’ building a palatial house on 15 grounds in the heart of the city and possessing a fleet of imported cars became inaudible.

Audio went off again when she alleged that police transfers were being effected by Karunanidhi’s family members. However, her diatribe against Karunanidhi on various issues including the price rise, fuel shortage and deterioration of law and order, was telecast without any interruption.

Sun Network sources, however, said there was no attempt to censor the speech and there were genuine audio problems. Refusing to attach any political significance to the telecast of Jayalalithaa’s public meeting, the sources said the channel had decided to telecast live the meetings of all political leaders.

To prove its neutrality, the channel also telecast live the launch of cheap rice scheme by Karunanidhi on Monday to coincide with Anna’s birth centenary. The channel had decided to cover the meetings of MDMK general secretary Vaiko and actor-politician Vijayakanth, who were virtually political untouchables to Sun TV prior to the Maran brothers parting ways with the DMK’s first family.

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