The Supreme Court Tuesday stayed the Central government’s ban on the Malayalam news channel ‘MediaOne’. By overturning Kerala HC’s decision that upheld the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s decision not to renew the channel’s licence, the apex court bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant, and Vikram Nath ruled that the channel can resume operations in the same manner as before the security clearance was revoked.
The Supreme Court was hearing an appeal filed by Madhyamam Broadcasting Limited against the Kerala High Court decision upholding the central government’s move to not renew the licence of its TV channel, MediaOne, on the ground of “national security and public order”.
BREAKING: SC: We order and direct that Union Govt order revoking security clearance to Madhyaman Broadcasting Ltd stands STAYED. Petitioner be allowed to run #MediaOne on the same basis channel was being operated before security clearance was revoked— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) March 15, 2022
“We order and direct that Union Govt order revoking security clearance to Madhyaman Broadcasting Ltd stands stayed. Petitioner be allowed to run MediaOne on the same basis channel was being operated before security clearance was revoked,” the Court said.
MediaOne had gone off the air after the channel’s “security clearance” was revoked by an order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on January 31. The injunction was sent to MediaOne’s parent corporation, Madhyamam Broadcasting Limited, a group owned by the radical Islamist organisation Jamaat-e-Islami.
MediaOne channel goes off air, high court upholds Centre’s decision to revoke licence
It may be recalled that on February 9, 2022, the Kerala High Court had upheld the Centre’s ban on Malayalam news channel MediaOne, dismissing petitions filed by the channel against the government order.
The Central Government had on February 2 informed the Kerala High Court that its decision to revoke the licence of the Malayalam news channel MediaOne was based on credible national security concerns flagged by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Reportedly, the regional television channel was found to be supporting the radical Islamist organisation Jamaat-e-Islami.
It becomes imperative to mention here that in the month of July last year, a Kerala-based journalist had revealed how Islamist organisation Jamaat-e-Islami has been receiving funds from Saudi Arabia universities to ‘Islamise’ India. The outfit was banned on February 28, 2019, by the Government of India following the terror attack in Pulwama as it was suspected of funding the terror organisation Hizbul Mujahideen.
I&B Ministry suspends MediaOne for biased coverage of anti-Hindu Delhi riots
MediaOne TV has been blocked from broadcasting for the second time in recent years. The channel was previously banned for 48 hours by the Centre in 2020 for breaking the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1998 for its shoddy ‘coverage of the Delhi riot’.
The Ministry had alleged that MediaOne accused the Delhi Police of remaining inactive during the violence, and the channel also blamed police for vandalising shops and fruit carts.