The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has denied the security clearance to 33 TV channels of Sun TV Network. This decision could mean the cancellation of the broadcasting license of the network and could see all the channels go off air. The MHA has communicated this to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry (MIB) on Friday according to media reports.
It had applied for a 10-year renewal of the security clearances for all the 33 channels last year. The union Home Ministry has cited the reason of two criminal investigations pending against Sun TV and Kalanithi Maran and his brother former Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran. They are facing a CBI probe over the alleged allotment of 300 high-speed BSNL telephone lines to Dayanidhi Maran’s residence who was the former Communication & Information Technology Minister in Chennai and was extended to the brother’s network. There is also the CBI’s Aircel-Maxis case.
The network which is one of the largest media groups in the country which reached 95 million households could go off air unless the court intervenes or if the Prime Minister decides to overrule the Home Ministry’s decision. The network can be expected to challenge the decision in the court where it can find relief if a stay order is passed. Last year too it had found relief from court as the government had denied clearance to the group’s cable TV business.
The MHA had earlier denied the security clearance to around 40 radio channels of Sun Network. This decision did not change even after I&B Minister Arun Jaitley wrote to the Home Minister Rajnath Singh seeking to review the decision, as he declined.