THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The 48-hour ban on Malayalam TV channels Asianet News and Media One was lifted by the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, hours after coming into force. The ban on Asianet News was lifted at around 1.30 am while Media One resumed broadcasting around 9:30 am.
It was on Friday night that the Ministry prohibited the transmission or re-transmission of the two channels for 48 hours on any platform throughout the country for 'being critical towards Delhi Police and RSS'. The action came into effect from Friday 7.30 pm and was supposed to be in effect till 7.30 pm on Sunday, March 8.
According to the ministry, the action was taken for violating the provisions of the Cable Television Networks Rules which prohibits "airing attacks on religions or communities, promoting communal attitudes" and "inciting violence, against law and order maintenance and promoting anti-national attitudes", the order said.
Among the reasons cited by the Information and Broadcasting ministry in banning Media One was the "reporting on Delhi violence seems to be biased as it is deliberately focusing on the vandalism of CAA supporters. It also questions RSS and alleges Delhi Police inaction. Channel seems to be critical towards Delhi Police and RSS."
Media One Editor-in-Chief CL Thomas had pointed out that such an undemocratic action has never occurred even during Emergency. Such a ban has never happened in the history of the country, he said.
The ministry had on February 25 issued a warning to channels against airing contents that incite violence or promote anti-national attitudes. On February 28, show cause notices were served on the channels. The channels later submitted their explanations.
The ministry's final notice to Asianet News, issued on Friday, said: "While reporting such critical incident, the channel should have taken utmost care and should have reported it in a balanced way. Such reporting could enhance the communal disharmony across the country when the situation is highly volatile."
The notice to Media One said: "Such reporting could enhance the communal disharmony across the country when the situation is highly volatile. The Ministry has time and again issued advisories to all News Channels to comply by the provisions of the rules. Due care and responsibility is expected while reporting news based on such incidents."
CPI condemns ban
CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran has termed the ban as an attack on media freedom. This is a continuation of the various steps taken by the Modi government against media freedom, he said in a statement issued here.