Home Economy DMK to launch two new TV channels

DMK to launch two new TV channels


Chennai : Tamil Nadu may soon get two new television channels sponsored by the ruling DMK and its leader M. Karunanidhi, with one being launched on June 3 – his 84th birthday.

The Sun Media group, and its television channels Sun News and Sun TV – synonymous with the DMK for the last 10 years – has been asked to vacate its offices at Anna Arivalayam, the DMK headquarters at Mount Road, it is learnt.

Meanwhile, posters have been splashed on the walls advertising a new channel, to be launched by the Raj TV group on the chief minister's birthday. It is to be called 'Kalaignar TV'.

The party will launch another channel, Anna TV, by June 15. The ruling DMK has not yet said who will launch the new channel, but it will be a party television, knowledgeable sources here said.

Whatever the name or names of the new ventures may finally be, the DMK will soon have its official channel.

Raj TV managing director M. Rajendran told media persons that the channel launched by him would be a "news channel belonging to the Raj Television group".

Karunanidhi's son M.K. Stalin is likely to have a stake in the Raj group's new venture, which "will telecast news, news-based programmes and views".

However, Rajendran has told Indiantelevision.com: "There is no political affiliation or influence relating to financial matters."

Last week, the DMK dissociated itself with the Sun group, and its television channels, newspapers and magazines, owned by Kalanidhi Maran, following the publication of an opinion poll in the Dinakaran newspaper that said Karunanidhi's younger son Stalin was preferred as his political heir rather than elder son M.K. Azhagiri.

On May 9, Azhagiri supporters set fire to the Dinakaran office in Madurai, and three of its employees were killed.

The DMK and Karunanidhi blamed the "Dinakaran and its owners" of fomenting "anti-party activities" aimed at creating a rift in the Karunanidhi family.

The party forced union Minister for Telecommunications and IT Dayanidhi Maran to resign from the central cabinet. On May 11, the party entrusted the telecast of the grand function to felicitate Karunanidhi for his 50 years in the assembly to Raj Television.

The investigation into the attack on the Dinakaran office was entrusted to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The CBI team, led by superintendent of police T.S.C. Bose, arrived in Madurai in the weekend and has started its investigation.

Rights groups have called for a protest against the attack on the Dinakaran on May 31. The umbrella organisation Human Rights Protection Vigil and Agitation Committee has invited activist writer Arundhati Roy, journalists Kuldip Nayar and B.G. Varghese to participate in its demonstration.

Peoples' Watch leader Henri Tiphagne told the media here, "The investigators should probe all the incidences of violence in and around Madurai on May 9 as all were related to the attack on the Dinakaran newspaper."

Half a dozen rights groups are demanding the re-arrest of Azhagiri for the May 9 incidents. He is out on bail in a case of murder of former DMK leader T. Kiruttinan in 2003.

Meanwhile, the Sun media group's shares have seen a steady slide over the past week.

On the other hand, the possibility of supporting the DMK has jacked the scrip of Raj Television Network.

Raj Television Network Limited, a regional broadcaster and media company set up in 1994, has posted revenues of Rs.386.42 million and a profit (after tax) of Rs.107.17 million for the financial year ended March 31. It earmarked Rs.892,055 as interim dividend. The issued, subscribed and paid-up share capital is Rs.129.78 million.

Raj TV Network Ltd. was one of the first broadcasters to convert analog transmission into digital. It currently operates two channels – Raj TV and Raj Digital plus, which are 24-hour Tamil channels. The new news channel for the DMK will be its third channel.

In March, Raj Television Network Ltd. signed an agreement with the Singapore government-owned TV 12 for exporting content to TV12's Vasantham Central, a popular channel airing programmes for the Indian community in Singapore.