MIB lifts 48-hour ban on two South news channels

According to MIB, the ban was imposed on the channels for violating the Cable Television Networks Rules 1994 while covering the Delhi violence on February 25

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Published: Mar 6, 2020 10:52 PM  | 3 min read

After ordering Malayalam news channels - MediaOne TV and Asianet News - to stop uplinking for 48 hours on any platform throughout India with effect from 19:30:00 hours on March 6, 2020 till 19:30:00 hours on March 8, 2020, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has lifted the ban, according to media reports. Both the channels are back on the air, say some agencies.

In a letter dated March 6, the MIB wrote to the channels to be off air for the said period for violating certain provisions of the Cable Television Networks Rules 1994 in the process of telecasting news reports on North-East Delhi violence on February 25.

According to the letter, both channels have violated Rule 6(1)(c) which states that no programme should be carried in the cable service which contains attack on religions or communities or visuals or words contemptuous of religious groups or which promote communal attitudes and Rule6 (1)(e) that provides that no programme should be carried in the cable service which is likely to encourage or incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promote anti-national attitudes. The letter says that the channels violated the rules in spite of the fact that the Ministry had issued an Advisory on February 25, advising the channels to strictly abide by the Programme Code of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995. A show cause notice (SCN) dated 28.02.2020 was also issued to both channels. The channels have responded to the SCN on March 3.
exchange4media reached out to Asianet but they denied to comment on the same.

On the other hand, in an official statement, MediaOne called the move a breach of journalistic freedom.

Below is the full statement issued by MediaOne:

"The Information and Broadcasting Ministry's ban on MediaOne TV for 48 hours in unfortunate and condemnable. This is a blatant attack against free and fair reporting. The order issued by I&B minsitry to suspend the telecast from March 6th, 19.30 hrs to March 8th 19.30 hrs, is for criticizing RSS and Delhi Police. The order also states that MediaOne has referred hate speeches made by Mr Kapil Mishra, the BJP leader from Delhi, as a reason for igniting violence in Delhi. The ministry order has mentioned on our reporting about not registering FIR against hate speeches, has violated cable TV Act. This is nothing but an order to stop free and fair journalism. MediaOne will fight legally against this unprecedented and undemocratic action imposed by Information and Broadcasting Ministry.”

Asianet is an Indian pay television channel in Malayalam language operated by Asianet Digital Network, wholly owned by Star India. MediaOne TV is an Indian television channel broadcasting in Malayalam, operated by Madhyamam Broadcasting Limited.

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