Revocation of MediaOne license is a crackdown on press freedom in India: prominent figures | MorungExpress

New Delhi, February 14 (PTI): Several parliamentarians, lawyers, editors and rights activists on Monday showed their support for Malayalam news channel MediaOne, saying the Centre’s revocation of its license for “unspecified” security concerns represents “a crackdown on freedom of the press in India”.

They also expressed ‘disappointment’ at the Kerala High Court’s ruling on the matter, saying it refused to overturn the government’s cancellation of the news channel’s license and protect the right fundamental to freedom of speech and expression.

“The decision of the Kerala HC Single Judge Bench was based on a ‘sealed’ envelope provided by the (Union) Ministry of Home (MHA), the contents of which have not been shared with MediaOne News” , they said. in a joint statement.

They hoped the dual panel High Court, which reserved judgment on appeals against the single panel order, would protect the channel’s fundamental right to free speech and expression and restore its license to broadcast. .

Digvijay Singh from Congress, Kanimozhi from DMK, Mahua Moitra from TMC, Priyanka Chaturvedi from Shiv Sena, Manoj Kumar Jha from RJD, Elamaram Kareem from CPM, Binoy Viswam from CPI, NK Premachandran from RSP, Badruddin Ajmal from AIUDF and ET Mohd IUML’s Basheer are among the parliamentarians who signed the joint agreement. statement, released at a press conference here.

The 42 eminent persons who signed the joint statement also included The Hindu newspaper chairman N Ram, The Telegraph editor R Rajagopal, The Caravan magazine editor Vinod K Jose and MediaOne editor Pramod Raman , former Bombay High Court Judge BG Kolse Patil, former DGP of Uttar Pradesh KS Subramanian and famous author Tushar Gandhi.

“MediaOne News, a Kerala-based news and current affairs television channel, has suddenly and arbitrarily had its uplink and downlink license revoked by the I&B ministry, citing unspecified national security concerns raised by the MHA” , they said.

“This arbitrary act by the MHA amounts to a violation of the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by Article 19 of the Constitution, and also represents a crackdown on press freedom in India,” they said.

“We are also extremely disappointed by the decision of the Single Judge Bench of the High Court of Kerala which refused to overturn the cancellation of MediaOne News’ license by the MIB and MHA and protect the fundamental right to liberty of speech and expression,” they added. .

They said the central government in 2020 suspended MediaOne’s transmission for 48 hours, as well as that of Asianet News, for coverage of the Delhi violence that took place in February this year.

MediaOne News had conducted “extensive coverage of the horrific communal riots” through its team of reporters and reporters, and “its refusal to toe the government line resulted in this central government suspension by framing the charges in order as criticism of Delhi Police and RSS,” they charged.

The suspension was lifted 12 hours after the other channel’s suspension was lifted, they added.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting revoked MediaOne’s license on January 31, citing national security concerns raised by the Home Office.

Madhyamam Broadcasting Ltd, which operates the news channel, then proposed to Kerala HC to challenge the Centre’s decision.

Hearing the case on February 8, the Kerala HC upheld the Centre’s decision to ban MediaOne from broadcasting, saying the MHA’s denial of security clearance to the Malayalam news channel was “justified”.

On February 9, Madhyamam Broadcasting Ltd, some of its employees and a syndicate of journalists filed separate appeals with the High Court against the order of its single judge.

After hearing both parties on February 10, the double formation of the High Court reserved its judgment on the appeals filed before it.

“We hope that in the current case as well as subsequent legal proceedings will protect the channel’s fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression and restore MediaOne News’ transmission license,” said the parliamentarians, editors and other eminent personalities in their joint statement.

Freedom of the press is essential to the health of any democracy and the central government ‘must not’ be allowed to abuse its powers to suppress critical voices and TV news channels ‘that dare to question the official narrative “, they added.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from news agency feeds and has not been edited by The Morung Express.

Source: PTI

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