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Kerala HC stays Centre’s order to ban news channel ‘MediaOne’ over security reasons

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

Thiruvananthapuram: Malayalam television news channel ‘MediaOne TV’, that was taken off air on Monday after its name was again removed from list of permitted channels by the Ministry of Information and broadcasting, a single-judge bench of the Kerala High Court deferred the order for two days.

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As per sources, the ministry denied permission for the channel’s renewal of license after the “Union home ministry’s refusal to give security clearance”. Notably, MediaOne TV had applied for broadcast permissions to be renewed from September 30, 2021 to September 29, 2031 but now the channel said it is exploring legal options though for now, broadcast has been stopped.

In a statement, Mediaone TV editor Pramod Raman said the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has imposed a broadcasting ban on the channel.

“The ministry has said the ban was due to security reasons, but the channel is yet to get the details on it. The Union Government has not made the details about the ban available to Mediaone TV. We have started legal action against the ban. After completing the process, the channel would be back to the audience. We are suspending the broadcasting temporarily with the hope that justice will prevail at last,” the statement read.

Indian Union Muslim League MLA MK Muneer tweeted opposing the government’s move. “I&B ministry’s decision to revoke the license of Media One is arbitrary and highly condemnable. This is silencing of critical voices. GoI must remove the ban ASAP!” his post read.

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In 2020, MediaOne TV was taken off air after the I&B Ministry said it violated provisions of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994 during its coverage of the violence in Delhi linked to the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

The notification was over a Delhi-based correspondent who claimed “vandals had fired at an anti-CAA protest site from a rooftop from 2 pm to 9 pm and around five anti-CAA protesters were injured”.

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A copy of the transmission was examined by the ministry, which said it attacked the government for its “cold-shouldered approach towards anti-CAA protesters” and criticised Delhi Police for failing to register FIRs against a “provocative speech” by unnamed BJP leader in Jafrabad, one of the areas hit by violence.

According to the I&B Ministry’s licence policy, every channel needs to get a security clearance, issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, to get a licence to broadcast in the country. The security clearance is valid for a period of 10 years, after which the channel has to get it again.

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