Kerala High Court Temporarily Defers Centre’s Ban on News Channel Media-One

The Kerala High Court on Monday postponed the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s judgment canceling the license of renowned Malayalam news channel Media-One until the next hearing date.

The petition was scheduled to be heard on Wednesday by Justice N. Nagaresh, who also served notice on Planet cast Media Services Ltd, the third respondent.

The respondents’ attorney, ASGI S. Manu, has been asked to obtain comprehensive instructions on the case.

Despite the ASGI’s strenuous opposition to an interim order, the Court concluded that transmission should not be interrupted until the issue was resolved.

The ASGI responded that the service was not required, but the Judge was inclined to issue an interim order regardless.

It was also argued that the Centre had sufficient reasons to withdraw the channel’s license and that the Court should not intervene because the ban was imposed for security concerns.

The television channel filed a writ petition in response to the Ministry’s suspension of its broadcast due to security concerns. The petitioner channel had previously been granted authorization by the Centre to uplink and downlink TV programs, and this permit was valid until September 29, 2021.

Senior Advocate S. Sreekumar, who represented the petitioner, agreed that the Centre gave the channel a show-cause notice on January 5, 2022, asking why the station’s license should not be revoked in the interests of national security and public order.

However, it was pointed out that the corporation had requested not to proceed with the notice without allowing them to respond, and that they were not notified of the reasons why the security clearance was denied in response to this notice.

Nonetheless, he said that the Ministry went on to remove the petitioner’s authorization with immediate effect, effectively eliminating the channel from the list of approved channels. The Ministry of Home Affairs, not the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, might serve such a notice, according to the lawyer.

The channel further claimed in their petition, filed through Advocate Rakesh K, that it had not engaged in any anti-national activities.

As a result, it had begged that the Ministry’s directive be revoked, citing the substantial investment involved in the firm.

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