The Lokshahi news channel, which recently aired a report related to an explicit video allegedly involving BJP leader Kirit Somaiya, has been temporarily suspended from broadcasting for a 72-hour period, according to a notice issued by the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry. The suspension was confirmed by the channel’s Editor-in-Chief, Kamlesh Sutar.
The suspension came into effect on Friday at 7 pm, and Kamlesh Sutar has indicated that the channel intends to pursue legal remedies in response to the notice.
Earlier this month, the Mumbai police filed a First Information Report (FIR) against Kamlesh Sutar and a YouTuber for their alleged broadcast of the explicit video. Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis initiated an inquiry during the recently concluded monsoon session of the state legislature, responding to concerns raised by opposition leaders regarding incidents of sexual harassment against women. The investigation into this matter is currently being conducted by the crime branch and remains ongoing.
In a video statement released on social media, Editor Kamlesh Sutar addressed the situation, stating, “I wanted to give an important update to our viewers. The I&B ministry had given us a notice earlier regarding a story on Somaiya following which we had presented our side. Now we have received a notice asking us to take the channel off the air for 72 hours. From 7 pm onwards, for the next 72 hours, you will not be able to see our channel. We are seeking legal advice.”
He further expressed his concerns, saying, “We were hoping that we were given an opportunity to present our side. Even as the probe is still ongoing, this feels like we are being punished. We will fight legally. We would have felt it fairer had we been given more time. We received a notice at 6.13 pm that from 7 pm, you should take the channel off the air. We will soon be back.”
Sutar emphasized Lokshahi’s commitment to its work and stated, “We are hoping to get a new order from the court. Lokshahi will continue doing its work. Let an inquiry happen and let it come out with its findings. There is already an FIR against us. At Lokshahi, we are not scared as it is our democracy.”
On X (formerly Twitter), Sutar posted a photo of himself with a white band across his mouth, alongside an image of the notice from the I&B ministry, signaling his determination to address the situation and continue the channel’s journalistic endeavors.