Why was Malayalam channel MediaOne’s broadcast licence revoked?

The Kerala High Court has stayed the operation of the order issued to the news channel by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting 

Malayalam channel MediaOne

The Kerala High Court has stayed the operation of the order of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) revoking Malayalam channel MediaOne’s broadcast licence. According to a report in Live Law, Justice N. Nagaresh has posted the matter to be considered on Wednesday and issued notice to Planetcast Media Services Ltd, the third respondent. “The implementation of Exhibit P1 (impugned order) shall be deferred till day after tomorrow,” the Court observed in its order and directed ASGI S. Manu appeared for the respondents to get detailed instructions on the matter. 

The ASGI had objected to the passing of an interim order, however, the Court opined that the broadcasting should not be disrupted till the case was decided. The stay was ordered after a writ petition by the television channel hours after the Ministry suspended its telecast citing “security concerns” was filed. According to news reports, Senior Advocate S. Sreekumar, appearing for the petitioner admitted that the channel was issued with a show-cause notice by the Centre on January 5, 2022, on why the Centre should not revoke its licence in consideration of national security and public order. However, reported LL, “It was pointed out that in response to this notice, the company had requested not to proceed with the notice without affording an opportunity of hearing and that they were not informed of the reasons why the security clearance was denied,” adding that such a notice could only be served by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), and not the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

In its plea, led through Advocate Rakesh K, the channel also “contended that it has not involved itself in any sort of anti-national activity” and had prayed that “considering the huge investment involved in the business, the order of the Ministry be withdrawn.”

On Monday, January 31, popular Malayalam news channel MediaOne TV suddenly went off air. The channel was not available since afternoon and set off a buzz in journalism circles. Soon the media outlet issued its statement that it went off air reportedly after its licence was revoked by an order of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B). The channel said that the ministry revoked their licence, citing security concerns. In a video statement, Pramod Raman, the editor of the channel said, “Dear audience, the telecast of MediaOne channel has once again been disallowed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, citing security reasons. The Government has not been forthcoming with the details” it also issued the same statement in English via its social media handle.



According to a report in The News Minute the channel is also “taking urgent legal steps” for its restoration on air. Till then the telecast will remain suspended. The sudden revocation of the licence by the Union government has come as a surprise to both the chanell and its viewers. MediaOne is a popular news channel in Kerala, stated news reports, and is reportedly owned by Madhyamam Broadcasting Limited. According to TNM, the channel was intimated that there were “security reasons” being raised and on Monday, they “received a notice stating that their licence had been cancelled.”



The News Minute quoted a source in the outlet saying, “In our previous communications, they have not mentioned whether it is due to a story, our directors or ownership pattern. Nothing has been revealed to us.” The notice does not mention whether the licence cancellation is a temporary measure or a permanent one, the report added. According to the report it is “the second time that Malayalam news channels have been barred from airing shows for ‘security concerns’. In March 2020, Asianet News and MediaOne TV had been barred for 48 hours by the I&B Ministry for their coverage of the Delhi riots. Both the channels showed a black screen during this period. The order from the Ministry had alleged that Asianet News and MediaOne TV were provocative, could have incited violence, were critical of police, sided with a particular community and showed those who supported the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in poor light. 

However, after Asianet’s board made a representation to the Union Ministry the ban on it was lifted within hoursMediaOne TV, however had then said that it would “fight the ban legally” and reportedly was under blackout for a few more hours. 



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