Kerala HC temporarily stays I&B Min order revoking license of MediaOne TV channel

The Kerala High Court on Monday stayed the order issued to Malayalam TV news channel MediaOne by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, revoking its license to broadcast, till the next hearing on Wednesday.

“The implementation of impugned order shall be deferred till day after tomorrow,” the order by Justice N. Nagaresh said.

Earlier on Monday, the TV channel’s Editor Pramod Raman issued a statement saying that they have been instructed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting that their channel is being taken off the air following some issues of security.

He said they do not know the details and are seeking legal recourse.

As soon as this message surfaced, top leaders belonging to the ruling CPI-M, the CPI, as well as the opposition Congress, and journalists’ body KUWJ slammed the Centre’s act of gagging the media and sought immediate lifting of the ban.

At the court hearing, Additional Solicitor General S. Manu objected to the passing of an interim order, but the court held that the broadcasting should not be disrupted till the case was decided.

To this, Manu said that it was not an essential service, but the court decided otherwise.

The ASG further contended that the Centre had adequate reasons to revoke the channel’s license and that since such a ban was imposed citing security reasons, the court should not interfere in the matter.

Incidentally the Centre had earlier issued permission enabling the channel to uplink and downlink TV programmes, and this permission was valid till September 29 last year.

Sreekumar, appearing for the petitioner, admitted that the channel was issued with a show-cause notice by the Centre on January 5, asking why its license should not be revoked in consideration of national security and public order.

However, it was pointed out that in response to this notice, the company had requested not to proceed with the notice without affording an opportunity of hearing and that they were not informed of the reasons why the security clearance was denied.

However, the Ministry proceeded to revoke the permission granted to the petitioner with immediate effect, thereby removing the channel from the list of permitted channels, he said.

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