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Kerala High Court Upholds The Centre's Order For Banning Malayalam News Channel

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Kerala High Court Upholds The Centre's Order For Banning Malayalam News Channel
Feb 9th 2022, 06:38, by Susmita Modak

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday denied a petition to provide security clearances to Malayalam news channel MediaOne, upholding a Union ministry of information and broadcasting (I&B) judgement that cancelled the channel's licence.

Madhyamam Broadcasting Ltd, the company that runs the station, submitted the writ petition. In 2020, the channel, which is controlled by a Jamat-e-Islami affiliate, was also blocked for two days for breaking the Cable Television Networks Act 1998 while broadcasting communal rioting in north-east Delhi.

After the judgment on Tuesday, editor Pramod Raman went on the air to say that the station would maintain its fight to defend journalistic freedom. The channel eventually went off the air.

Justice Nagaresh's single bench said that this court has no intention of interfering with the cancellation of petitioner's licence renewal. As a result, the writ petition is dismissed.

At this point, S Sreekumar, the channel's lawyer, sought that the judgement be set aside for two days so that he could submit an application, but the court refused. The court declared that it appreciates the company's and its employees' plight, but it cannot stretch it even for an hour.

The court stated that the ministry of home affairs (MHA) convened a committee based on input from multiple intelligence agencies, which concluded that the channel's security clearance should not be extended. The court found that these inputs justify the MHA's determination after checking the said details.

It's worth noting that the MHA has so far declined to comment on the case. Amit Shah, the home minister, promised Congress MPs in the Lok Sabha that his ministry will look into their issues.

The counsel brought up the recent Pegasus and Digicable Networks verdicts, but the court decided they couldn't be combined with the current case.

The year before, the Supreme Court (SC) established a three-member panel to investigate and produce a report on the unlawful surveillance of many activists, journalists, and opposition leaders with Israeli spyware, Pegasus, despite hearing 12 petitions.

The court said it based its decision on the 2019 Supreme Court verdict in Digicable Network vs Indian Union, which found that in situations concerning television licences, petitioners have no access to a prior hearing if authorization is refused on national security grounds.

The channel's 10-year broadcasting licence ended on September 29, 2021, and the business applied to extend it in May. The MHA refused it security clearance on December 29, 2021, and the ministry of information and broadcasting (I&B) consequently ceased its transmission. Last week, though, the channel filed an appeal with the high court, which delayed the ruling and ordered the Centre to present all data by February 7. The court handed down its decision on February 8 after going over them.

Similarly, the station was critical of Malayalam journalist Siddique Kappan's detention while reporting on the Hathras rape case. However, authorities in Uttar Pradesh said that Kappan and two other people were planning to stir unrest in the state. The chief executive officer.

Meanwhile, in 2011, the MediaOne channel began broadcasting its programming. Following the MHA's suggestion, the I&B ministry rejected down its initiatives for two additional channels, MediaOne Life and MediaOne Global, as well as the formation of two more directors in 2016. The group also publishes Madhyamam, a weekly Malayalam newspaper. Madhyamam Broadcasting Co Ltd is based in Kozhikode, Kerala, and has six directors.

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