Political Pickle

A wedding, Three guests, TV9 and Ravi Prakash

On the face of it, it was just another big fat Telugu wedding. It was the wedding of the daughter of the brother of Jupally Rameshwar Rao, the real estate tycoon, proprietor of My Home Group last week. But it is his latest acquisition of the TV9 media stable that has made him the talking point in Telugu political and media circles. 

Which is why you got to be an ostrich in the sand not to see the shifting sands of Telugu land politics reflected in the guest list. Especially three high profile guests.

K Chandrasekhar Rao, YS Jaganmohan Reddy and Pawan Kalyan.

All three of them have had issues with TV9 Telugu channel which was till 10 May, headed by founder CEO Ravi Prakash. 

Soon after he took over as the first chief minister of Telangana in June 2014, KCR was highly offended by a derogatory programme broadcasted by TV9. The cable operators reacted to the anger among the legislators and the people of Telangana in general at the offensive content on the show and blacked out the channel for close to 18 months. KCR himself in a fit of anger threatened to bury channels that insulted Telangana pride. 

Now Rameshwar Rao is seen as being close to the Telangana CM and Ravi Prakash’s allegation is that the new owners were forcing editorial slant to suit the TRS government in Telangana.

The YSR Congress party of Jagan always saw Ravi Prakash as one of Chandrababu Naidu’s men in the vernacular media. Though Ravi Prakash denied any such bias in his editorial calls in his interview to Filter Kaapi, it is a tag he had to live with. Which is perhaps why ever since the filing of three cases against Ravi by the new management of TV9, the YSRCP leaders and Sakshi TV have been going hammer and tongs at the ousted CEO. Sakshi website even speculated that Ravi may be hiding in Vijayawada. 

Pawan Kalyan had the most public and ugly fight with Ravi Prakash. It became extremely personal, with TV9 almost running what seemed like an anti-Pawan campaign and the actor retorting in kind, going ballistic with his tweets. The Jana Sena campaign was virtually blacked out of TV9, a pointer to how the channel had become a player in the politics in the Telugu states instead of only being an observer who reported. Ironically Pawan spoke to the channel within a day of the change of guard. 

As per the TRP meter released every Thursday, TV9 is the most watched Telugu news channel. Started 15 years ago, it has maintained its numero uno position despite hordes of channels sprouting up in both Telangana and Andhra. With another seven channels in different languages under its belt, TV9 is a powerful media brand. 

Which is why the FIR filed by Alanda Media, the new owners with 90.5 per cent stake in Associated Broadcasting Company Limited (ABCL) has taken everyone by surprise. The revelation that Ravi Prakash allegedly sold the trademark to Media Nxt for a consideration of Rs 99000, if true, will mean he compromised the interests of his own company’s brand.

Hyderabad-based expert on trademarks, Ashok Ram Kumar who is an attorney of Intellectual property rights says if Ravi Prakash has indeed transferred the document without an ABCL (Associated Broadcasting Company Pvt Limited) board resolution, he is in trouble because he cannot do so.

Ravi Prakash has applied for anticipatory bail in the Telangana High court even as a lookout notice has been issued against him. Things are definitely not looking good for the man who until the other day, was seen as the top star of the Telugu media scene.

2 replies »

  1. Let me correct your own (perhaps unintended but inherent) bias here.
    You wrote “KCR was highly offended by a derogatory programme”, which really, given how demeaning of Telangana, its culture, and the people it was, should read “KCR was offended by a *highly* derogatory programme”.
    If only journalists like you would pull your peers up for their complete dishonesty and lack of ethics, such things wouldn’t come to pass. It wasn’t just politicians Ravi Prakash managed to harass, it was the general public too.
    Case to the point, his cringe-worthy, inhuman, and derogatory potrayal of LGBT culture, as well as his harassment of female students of NALSAR outisde pubs and bars. Your boy is a creep, and and his ethics don’t stand up to scrutiny, esecially in a post Article 377, post #MeToo era.
    I for one, don’t feel sorry for him at all. If anything, his proximity to Ramoji Rao, makes me doubt the latter’s ethics too.


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