All TV channels, except news channels in Karnataka are facing a blackout today, even as the state is in the midst of a 12-hour bandh over the Cauvery river dispute. Local cable TV operators in the state have pulled the plug on all channels except those airing news, since 6 a.m. today. The blackout will continue till 6 p.m.

The blackout has not affected those using DTH services. Hathway too has participated in the blackout. The bandh has been called by farmers and pro-Kannada outfits to protest against an order directing Karnataka to release the water of the Cauvery to the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. The blackout was initiated by local cable TV operators who have joined the stir over the Cauvery dispute.

Clearly inconvenienced by the turn of the events through the day, some citizens have taken to Twitter. One tweeted, “In Karnataka Bandh today on Cauvery water,TV entertainmentchannels off the air. But there is a loophole:News channels are on.& entertaining” .

News channels face block (Image credit: Getty Images)

TV channels face block (Image credit: Getty Images)

Recently, Telugu news channels were taken off air for about 10 minutes in and around Hyderabad as pro-Telangana supporters participating in the Telangana March clashed violently with the police. The blackout seemed to affect only local cable operators and not DTH services.

Other parts of Andhra Pradesh did not experience the blackout when regional news channels were airing deferred live coverage of the meeting being addressed at Hussain Sagar Lake. The news channels were beaming aerial shots of the meeting scheduled to be held from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Transmission was blocked by the police after participants of the Telangana March started moving towards Necklace Road, where they met with clashes with the police.  

Newspaper offices were reportedly inundated with phone calls from anxious people. Understandably, with no way to decipher what was happening beyond a few blocks, the tension in the state escalated further.

In such times, citizens tend to rely on the web and social media. Quite a few took to social networking sites such as Twitter to vent their annoyance. One user tweeted, “Violence mars 'Telangana March', news channels blocked …Wht happnd freedom of press?”, while another wrote, “Big game behind TV news channels #blackout in #Hyderabad. Transmission resumed but not live. It's raining but footage is that of evening”.

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