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When a Puthiya Thalaimurai debate kicked off a debate on press freedom.

It all started with a debate. A debate which comes with a topic and at times, people don't know where it's headed.

Popular Tamil news channel Puthiya Thalaimurai had organised a debate on 'Are continuous protests for people's basic needs or for political reasons?' on June 9 at a private college in Coimbatore with Tamil Nadu BJP President Tamilisai Soundararajan, DMK leader TKS Elangovan, Tamil Manila Congress leader Gnanadesikan, film director Ameer Sultan and CPI(M) state secretary Balakrishnan being the speakers pitted against each other. 

The much-heated debate ended in a lot of chaos with TKS Elangovan claiming that the BJP and RSS cadres in the audience created a ruckus following Ameer's comments, prompting a case to be filed by the Coimbatore police, who stated that the director was responding to the BJP state president when he made remarks about the communal tension that prevailed in the city following the murder of a Hindu Munnani functionary C Sasikumar in 2016, the portions of which wasn't telecast on TV.

It didn't take long for the Peelamedu police to book director Ameer, Kangeyam MLA U Thaniyarasu, as well as the organiser Puthiya Thalaimurai TV and the channel's reporter for promoting enmity on religious grounds.

The director in particular is under the eye of the storm after having been booked under Sections 153 (A) (Promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion), and 505 of IPC (Intent to incite one community against another) for making remarks which could lead to tension between sections of people.

Among the scores of politicians, activists, journalists, etc, to have turned up their nose against what's being construed as an attack on press freedom is DMK working president and opposition leader MK Stalin condemning the incident in the Assembly on Monday. In response, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami said that appropriate action would be taken upon investigation. 

On the channel's part, it does seem to bear the brunt of the repercussions of freedom of expression after being pushed to 499 from 124 in the list of channels on the state-run Arasu Cable Network and as if adding salt to the wound, Puthiya Thalaimurai has to be content with being slated as a non-Tamil channel as well.

Raise your hands if you see a salvo coming from the channel anytime soon.

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