Modi government in the past has set a precedent in taking a hardline stance against anyone engaging in lopsided propagation of information. Recently it had to take another.
The central government acted swiftly to ban one of the most tainted media organization that is Media One on Monday, Jan 31.
Media One off-air
Malayalam TV channel Media One has been taken off air by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry (I&B) of India. The Jamaat-e-Islami operated channel has been banned because of its recent violation of internal security-related guidelines proposed by the Union government of India.
Pramod Raman, the editor of Media One took it upon himself to inform the channel’s viewers about the suspension. “The ministry says the ban was due to security reasons. We are yet to get details. We hope justice will prevail and we will be able to start our transmission soon” said Pramod
Security clearance denied
According to a report by Indian Express, Central Government denied the security clearance to the channel. They are now taking extra attentive measures before a possible renewal of license for the private TV channel in the ‘news’ category. The last time, Medio One had renewed its license was in 2011.
Ministry guidelines make it mandatory for every private TV Channel to renew its license every 10 years.
Congress criticizes the ban
The ban didn’t bode well with the opposition parties as well with other prominent elites from the media spectrum.
V D Satheesan, Congress leader and leader of opposition in the Kerala assembly came down heavily on the ban. Accusing the I&B Ministry of being biased towards RSS, Satheesan said, “The banning of telecast of MediaOne channel without citing any reason was undemocratic. This is against natural justice. The Union government has a responsibility to cite the reason behind the ban. The government is trying to implement the agenda of Sangh Parivar which has been intolerant against unpleasant truths”
High Court defers the ban
Meanwhile, Kerala High Court has deferred the ban for two days. As soon as the ban was announced, a petition was pushed in Kerala High Court. Strangely enough, it was accepted for urgent hearing by the highest Court of state. A single-judge Bench of Justice N Nagaresh asked the Central government to stay the ban until the next hearing, which is on 2nd February.
The court instructed S Manu, Additional Solicitor General to get instruction from the Union government on the issue. It also issued notice to Planet cast Media Services Limited, broadcasting service provider to Media One.
Not the first time for Media One
This is the second instance when the Union government had to resort to such extreme measures on Media One. In 2020, the channel was alleged for their biased coverage of the then volatile Delhi Riots, Modi government back then had the channel banned for 48-hours.
To make things murkier, the channel is owned by a radical Islamist organisation called Jamaat-e-Islami, which puts its credibility in doubt for 1.4 billion Indians as the organisation have a dubious background of indulging in terrorism. But, better late than never as it seems, the I&B ministry’s swift action has supposedly infused a sense of responsibility among other media organizations.