All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhakam, the party of the late chief minister J Jayalalitha, has unveiled the names and emblem of the four television channels that it is planning to start.
The general entertainment channel will be called ‘J TV’. In addition, there will be three channels focused on music (MusicJ), Movies (MoviesJ) and News (NewsJ).
The website of the news channel will be ‘newsj.tv‘, which just has a home page as of now. The channels are expected to start broadcasting in the next three months, and behind-the-scenes work, including recruitment, has been going on for several months.
News first broke about the upcoming channels two months ago, when AIADMK leaders E Palanisami and O Paneerselvam convened a meeting of its legislators in early January.
At the event, the legislators were told that the party would float four TV channels and a newspaper, to be called Namathu Amma or Our Mother.
Tamil Nadu has a long tradition of political parties having their own newspapers, and more recently, TV channels.
The DMK had Murasoli or the ‘Call of the Horn’, which used to be headed by Maran, nephew of K Karunanidhi.
His son Dayanidhi Maran expanded the media arm to Sun TV, which was useful to project the party’s official lines on major issues until the Maran brothers had a falling out with their uncle in 2008.
Following this, the DMK created — as the AIADMK is doing now — a new ‘media empire’ almost overnight right from scratch. This included a general entertainment channel named ‘Kalaignar’ (The Artist) — a nickname earned by Karunanidhi due to his literary capabilities — Kalaignar Seithigal (Kalaignar News), Murasu, Isai Aruvi (Musical Stream) and Sirippoli, a comedy channel.
To counter Sun TV, Jayalalitha started Jaya TV and several associated channels like Jaya News.
But the control of these channels now rest with the minority Sasikala faction of AIADMK, which seems to have forced official faction to launch ‘JTV’.
Central tax enforcement agencies had conducted multiple raids on Jaya TV premises in November in the context of rising tension between the Sasikala faction and the ‘official’ faction led by O Paneerselvam and E Palanisami, who are reported to have the support of the BJP.
It remains to be seen if the latest entrants to Tamil Politics, Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth, also float their own news channels to coincide with their entry into active politics.