BJP is the latest announces the launch of a news channel in Tamil Nadu where major parties like DMK and AIADMK are already associated with channels.
The most popular is Sun TV, which is owned by DMK MP Dayanidhi Maran’s elder brother Kalanidhi, while DMK is directly run by Kalaignar Seithigal. The AIADMK, led by Edappadi K Palaniswami, directly controls News J, while the family of former chief minister Jayalalithaa Sasikala’s aide runs Jaya TV, whose news division is Jaya Plus. News J was founded when the AIADMK leadership was unable to take control of Jaya TV after Sasikala and her family were expelled from the party in 2017. Mega 24 is considered a Congress channel as it was launched by veteran party leader and former Union Minister KV. Thangkabalu.
However, Tamil Nadu is not the only state where political parties or leaders either own or are associated with news channels.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s company Indira Television Ltd launched Telugu television channel Sakshi TV in March 2009. The company is currently headed by Jagan Mohan’s wife YS Bharathi Reddy.
The CBI filed a charge sheet in March 2012, which alleged that investments by various companies in the Sakshi Group, including Jagati Publications Ltd, under which the Telugu daily Sakshi was launched in March 2008, were bribes. The agency said the money was “in a quid pro quo arrangement of those receiving benefits” from the government of former CM and Jagan Mohan’s father YS Rajashekar Reddy.
Rajya Sabha MP Kartikeya Sharma, son of former Union minister Venod Sharma, founded the iTV network in 2007 through which he runs various news channels.
A businessman and media owner by profession, Kartikeya Sharma contested the Rajya Sabha elections from Haryana last June as an independent candidate. He made it to the Upper House with the support of the ruling BJP-Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) alliance defeating Congress heavyweight Ajay Maken.
The iTV network owns the English news channel NewsX. Its regional divisions like India News Haryana, India News Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh, India News Punjab and India News Uttar Pradesh-Uttarakhand gained dominance in Hindi speaking areas. The network owns three national news channels, two newspapers, five regional news channels and a total of two online portals. It has over 3,000 employees. Kartikeya also has stakes in several five-star hotels in Gurgaon, Delhi, Chandigarhand Punjab.
In 2021, his father founded the Haryana Jan Chetna Party. Kartikeya was its member before joining the BJP. He is married to Aishwarya Sharma, daughter of former Haryana Vidhan Sabha Speaker Kuldeep Sharma of the Congress.
Suvarna News, Kasthuri News 24 and Dighvijay News are among the news channels in Karnataka that are either owned or associated with politicians.
Suvarna, the second 24×7 news channel in the state, was launched in 2008. It is part of Asianet News Network, which is a subsidiary of Jupiter Capital Private Limited. Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar is the majority shareholder of Jupiter Capital.
Chandrasekhar also invested in Republic TV, but in 2018, after joining the BJP, he resigned as a director on the board of ARG Outlier Asianet News Private Limited, which runs the news channel. In 2019, Asianet diluted its shares in Republic TV and became a minority shareholder.
Launched in 2011, Kasthuri News 24 is owned by Janata Dal (Secular) MLA Anitha Kumaraswamy who is married to former CM HD Kumaraswamy. This is Anitha’s second media venture after entertainment channel Kasthuri TV.
Dighvijay News is part of businessman Vijay Sankeshwar’s media empire. Elected to Lok Sabha three times from the BJP in the 1990s, Sankeshwar briefly left the party before rejoining it in 2014. He also owns the Kannada daily Vijayavani.
Although no political party in the state directly controls a TV channel, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MLAs Sanjib Kumar Mallick and Susant Kumar Rout are on the board of directors of Sakala Media Private Ltd, which runs the government channel Nandighosha TV.
Jagi Mangat Panda, who is married to BJP National Vice President Baijayant Panda, runs a popular channel called Odisha TV (OTV).
The popular channel Jaihind TV is backed by the state Congress, with former opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala serving as chairman of Bharat Broadcasting Network Limited, which owns the channel.
Kairali TV and People’s TV are owned by CPI(M)-backed Malayalam Communications Limited. Party leaders own a large portion of the company’s shares. Janam TV, the newest entrant in the state’s media scene, is known to lean towards the Sangh Parivar.
Top sources in the BJP said Indian Express that the BJP channel in Tamil Nadu “will be an extension of Janam TV and that the name of the Tamil channel will most likely be the same”.