Malayalam Media Channels Banned For Being "Critical Of Police, RSS" In Their Delhi Riots Coverage, Back On-Air

The orders also accused the channels of having "highlighted the attack on places of worship and siding towards a particular community" while they reported on the riots.

India   |   7 March 2020 5:28 AM GMT / Updated : 2020-03-07T11:02:08+05:30
Editor : Shubhendu Deshmukh | By : Sumanti Sen
Malayalam Media Channels Banned For Being Critical Of Police, RSS In Their Delhi Riots Coverage, Back On-Air

Image Credit: keralakaumudi

Malayalam news channels Asianet News and Media One News that were banned for 48 hours starting 7.30 pm on Friday, March 6 have come back on air on Saturday morning.

The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had imposed the ban on the two channels, "siding" with one community and being "critical towards Delhi Police and RSS" in their Delhi riots coverage.

The orders also accused the channels of having "highlighted the attack on places of worship and siding towards a particular community" while they reported on the riots.

However, on March 7, Saturday, both the channels came back on air as the ban was lifted.

What Were The Channels Accused?

The I&B Ministry, in its order against Media One News, had said that the channel "questions RSS and alleges Delhi Police inaction," "seems to be critical towards Delhi Police and RSS" and focuses on "vandalism of CAA supporters".

The two separate orders accused the channels of violating the Programme Code of the Cable TV Network (Regulations) Act, 1995.

Expressing anguish over the ban Media One Editor-in-Chief C L Thomas, said that the act was the "biggest encroachment of a government on freedom of the media".

"In the history of India, such a ban has never happened. During the Emergency period, there were restrictions on the media. Now the country is not going through Emergency. The decision to bar TV channels is a warning to all media houses in the country that they should not criticise the government,'' The Indian Express quoted Thomas as saying.

Media One, which is owned by Madhyamam Broadcasting Limited, is backed by Jamaat-e-Islami. Asianet News Editor M G Radhakrishnan had said: "We don't want to react at this moment. We will take a collective look at the issue and come out with our view later."

Asianet News is indirectly owned by Bharatiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar who also has stakes in Republic TV.

"Channel's reporting on Delhi violence seems to be biased as it is deliberately focusing on the vandalism of CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) supporters," I&B Ministry had said in its order against Media One News.

The ministry further stated that such telecast had potential to incite violence and disrupt law and order situation. Especially when the situation is highly volatile and charged up with riots taking place in several areas with reports of killings and bloodbath.

Media One, defending itself in its response to the show-cause notice which was issued on February 28, had said that "the news reports telecast by Media One about the incident, which happened in northeast Delhi do not constitute any breach of Rule".

It had said "it is the lawfully accepted duty of the media under Article 19 (1) (a) read with Article 15(2) of the Constitution of India to bonafide investigate and report news truly and correctly… As a recognised news channel, the news in question telecast by Media One is in the exercise of the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India".

Asianet News claimed that all the neccessary care and precaution was practised before publishing the stories. It also said that all the content was broadcasted only after factual verification of the on-ground situation from the officials. The channel said that all their stories they ran were "impartial and true reports of the untoward incidents that took place in the particular area wherein their reporters and crew were physically present" and "never intended to cause publication of report siding towards a particular community".

Also Read: [Watch] "Martyrdom Should Not Be Used For Increasing TRPs": NDTV Anchor Ravish Kumar

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Contributors

Sumanti Sen

Sumanti Sen

Digital Journalist

Sumanti Sen is an English Literature graduate who believes "there's just one kind of folks. Folks.".

Shubhendu Deshmukh

Shubhendu Deshmukh

Digital Editor

Shubhendu, the quint essential news junky, the man who loves science and politics in equal measure and offers the complete contrast to it by being a fan of urdu poetry as well.

Sumanti Sen

Sumanti Sen

Digital Journalist

Sumanti Sen is an English Literature graduate who believes "there's just one kind of folks. Folks.".

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