Kerala HC suspends Center order revoking license of Malayalam channel MediaOne TV; case to be heard on February 2

Following the Home Office’s denial of security clearance, a show cause notice was served on the company explaining why the clearance granted to it should not be revoked or canceled for the uplink or down the chain.

The company, in response to the show cause notice, mentioned that it was not aware of the reasons for the denial of the security clearance and asked the authorities not to initiate proceedings in this matter.

The Ministry of I&B said the Home Office security clearance is based on security parameters. “As the Home Office has denied security clearance, the channel cannot be allowed to operate,” reads the order from the I&B ministry.

“We also don’t know why permission was denied by the Home Office. We don’t know exactly what parameters we violated. We received this show cause notice to which we asked for the reasons for the denial, but the ministry did not give us an explanation. We have been running our channel following all the parameters for 10 years,” Raman stressed.

The ministry did not accept the company’s response.

MediaOne CEO Roshan Kakkat claimed that they did not breach or violate any security settings. “We have completed most of the required renewal processes and in the middle of that we received a show cause notice. We also received a show cause notice five years ago. We emphasized that we followed all I&B ministry rules and CATV guidelines and did not violate any guidelines,” Kakkat said.

The channel asked the ministry to bring to its attention the guidelines it had violated, so that corrective action could be taken. “We have also requested an appointment with the ministry,” Kakkat added.

In March 2020, I&B Minstry decided to ban the MediaOne channel and Asianet for 48 hours for their “biased” coverage of the Delhi riots, saying their reporting was “in favor of a particular community”.

The order passed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting stated that the two news channels had violated the rules of the cable television network of 1994, which state, among other things, “No program should be broadcast in cable service that attacks religions or communities or has visuals or words that demean religious groups or that promote communal attitudes.”

It also stipulates that no program which may encourage or incite violence or contains anything against the maintenance of public order or which promotes anti-national attitudes shall be broadcast.

Both channels received notices of showing on February 28 and both defended their reporting by saying they had been extremely careful in following the rules. They said their reports did not dismiss any religious group or communal attitude.

The MediaOne channel had on March 7, 2020 issued a statement on the order. “This is a blatant attack on free and fair reporting. The ministry order stated that our reporting had violated the cable television law. This is nothing more than an order to stop free and fair journalism. MediaOne will legally fight against this unprecedented and undemocratic action imposed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting,” wrote CL Thomas, editor of MediaOne TV.

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