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Free fall: on TN govt’s attack on press freedom

The Tamil Nadu government’s attitude towards news media has hit a new low

Any which way one looks at the Puthiya Thalaimurai case, one conclusion (निष्कर्ष/परिणामis inescapable (अनिवार्य/अवश्यंभावी): it is a direct attack on press freedom (आजादी/स्वतंत्रता). That the Tamil Nadu government could have slapped (तमाचा मारना/फेंकना) a case against the Tamil news channel under Section 153A of the Indian Penal /Code (pertaining (संबंधित/से सम्बद्ध) to promoting (को बढ़ावा/प्रोत्साहित करना) enmity (बैर/शत्रुता/वैमनस्य) between groups), and other sections of the law, would be laughable (हास्यास्पद/हंसाने योग्य) if it wasn’t so unspeakably (अकथनीय) appalling (भय उत्पन्न करनेवाला). The cause for the action was certain remarks made by a couple of the TV channel’s guests who had participated (भाग लिया/हिस्सा लेना/सम्मिलित होना) in a roundtable (गोल मेज) discussion on current affairs before an invited audience (दर्शक/श्रोतागण). Although it was a right-wing (पक्ष) section of the audience that was disruptive (हानिकारक/फूट डालने वाला), first information reports (FIRs) were filed against the two guests — who, from all accounts, said nothing that was inflammatory (भड़काऊ/उत्तेजक) — as well as the reporter and management of Puthiya Thalaimurai. All the more shocking (चौंका देने वाला/भयानक) is the fact that this was done even before the roundtable discussion on the role of protests (विरोध प्रदर्शन/आपत्ति) was aired (प्रसारित). Any debate (बहस/वादविवाद/चर्चा) in Tamil Nadu on whether protests such as the protracted (लंबा/दीर्घ/स्थगित किया हुआ) and heated anti-Sterlite (असरदार) agitation (आंदोलन/खलबली/अशांतिare politicised (राजनीतिकरण/राजनीति के बारे में कहना) is bound (सीमा/सीमित करना/घेरना) to evoke (पुकारना//पैदा करना/बुलाना) radically (मौलिक/आवश्यक रूप से) divergent (विभिन्न/इंतियाज़ी/भिन् दिशा मेंजानेवाला) views. But it is extraordinary (असाधारण/असामान्य) that people have been booked for either hosting (मेजबानी) such a debate or merely (केवल/सादे तौर पर) expressing their views in it.

If proof was needed that the Tamil Nadu government was acting in a vindictive (प्रतिशोधी/दंड देनेवाला/प्रतिकाराशील) way, it was provided by another, and even more insidious (कपटी/धोखेबाज), attempt to intimidate (धमकाना/डराना) Puthiya Thalaimurai. On the State government-owned distribution network, the Arasu Cable TV Corporation, the news channel was suddenly pushed from the 124th to the 499th slot, removed in some places from the Tamil cluster (समूह/गरोह) of channels and regrouped (फिरसे एकजुट) with those in other languages. As for those subscribers (ग्राहकों) who are linked to Arasu via analogue (अनुरूप/सादृश्य), the channel has become simply unavailable (अनुपलब्ध/पहुंच से बाहर का) in many areas. Around 60% of the 1.5 crore homes that have cable television are serviced by Arasu, which was set up to link homes to television through multi-system operators and local cable operators at an affordable cost. As Arasu has grown in influence (प्रभाव/असर/पहुँच), private players no longer enjoy the patronage (संरक्षण/सहायता/प्रतिपालनthat they did earlier. Lately, there have been apprehensions (आशंकाओं/शंका/डरthat the State government is using its domination (प्रभुत्व/शासन/अधिकार) of the distribution (वितरण/विभाजन/फैलाव) space to bring news coverage by TV channels in line. There have been allegations (आरोपों/इलज़ाम) that access to a couple of other news channels were disrupted (बाधित/नाकाम करना) as well; some have found themselves pushed back in the slots allotted by the Arasu network. This is why many in the media have been led to believe that the rationale (तर्क/औचित्य/मूलकारणor purpose for coming down on Puthiya Thalaimurai with such a heavy hand is to send a larger message to the rest of the media. The only way the Tamil Nadu government can prove they are wrong is by withdrawing (वापस लेने/निकालना) the FIRs registered in this case.

Important Vocabulary

1. Inescapable (अनिवार्य/अवश्यंभावी)
Synonyms: inevitable,doomed,unescapable,certain,imminent
Antonyms: escapable

2. Enmity (बैर/शत्रुता/वैमनस्य)
Synonyms: hate,dislike,animus,unfriendliness,bitterness
Antonyms: approval,friendliness,like,respect,loving

3. Appalling (भय उत्पन्न करनेवाला)
Synonyms: alarming,shocking,horrific,horrible,terrible
Antonyms: beautiful,nice,good,delightful,pleasant

4. Disruptive (हानिकारक/फूट डालने वाला)
Synonyms: disturbing,rowdy,troublesome,unruly,upsetting
Antonyms: calming,disciplined,settling,soothing,well-behaved

5. Inflammatory (भड़काऊ/उत्तेजक)
Synonyms: incendiary,intemperate,provocative,anarchic,demagogic
Antonyms: calming,mitigating,placating,pleasing,tranquilizing

6. Divergent (विभिन्न/इंतियाज़ी/भिन्‍न दिशा में जानेवाला)
Synonyms: conflicting,dissimilar,abnormal,opposite,irregular
Antonyms: agreeing,alike,conforming,equal,same

7. Agitation (आंदोलन/खलबली/अशांति)
Synonyms: disturbance,turbulence,upheaval,tizzy,turmoil
Antonyms: calm,harmony,order,peace,tranquility

8. Evoke (पुकारना//पैदा करना/बुलाना)
Synonyms: arouse,conjure,call,aken,evolve
Antonyms: calm,deaden,decrease,stop,ignore

9. Protracted (लंबा/दीर्घ/स्थगित किया हुआ)
Synonyms: continued,extensive,lengthy,expanded,stretch
Antonyms: decrease,stop,quit,shorten,end

10. Vindictive (प्रतिशोधी/दंड देनेवाला/प्रतिकाराशील)
Synonyms: cruel,resentful,merciless,ruthless,implacable
Antonyms: compassionate,considerate,kind,forgiving,gentle

11. Insidious (कपटी/धोखेबाज)
Synonyms: dangerous,cunning,smooth,surreptitious,crooked
Antonyms: fair,honest,open,sincere

12. Intimidate (धमकाना/डराना)
Synonyms: alarm,scare,coerce,enforce,force
Antonyms: assure,calm,comfort,hearten,inspirit

13. Patronage (संरक्षण/सहायता/प्रतिपालन)
Synonyms: aegis,aid,grant,protection,support
Antonyms: attack,blockage,disapproval,discouragement,harm

14. Rationale (तर्क/औचित्य/मूल कारण)
Synonyms: excuse,motive,theory,storyexplanation,
Antonyms: discouragement,proof,reality

15. Apprehensions (आशंकाओं/शंका/डर)
Synonyms: alarm,doubt,dread,foreboding,misgiving
Antonyms: belief,calm,certainty,peace,ease



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