The Centre has suspended the telecast of Malayalam news channel MediaOne TV citing “security reasons”, The Indian Express reported. The channel, which reportedly has the backing of the Kerala chapter of Jamaat-e-Islami members, went off air on Monday noon.
Pramod Raman, the editor of the channel, in a statement said that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is yet to disclose more details about the ban. “MediaOne is taking urgent legal steps for the restoration of the channel, and hope to get back to the viewers as soon as we can,” he added. “For the time being, we are suspending our telecast, confident that justice will prevail.”
Unidentified officials told The Indian Express that the licence of the channel has not expired. However, the process of renewal of licence was underway when the transmission ban came into effect.
Indian Union Muslim League leader ET Muhammed Basheer criticised the Union government’s decision.
“Centre’s ban on MediaOne TV is highly reprehensible,” he wrote in a tweet. “This is the second time that the Central Government has imposed a ban on MediaOne TV. Yet another attempt to silence the political dissent through outright fascism. All people of India should unite against this tyranny.”
In 2020, MediaOneTV along with another Malayalam channel Asianet News had been barred for 48 hours for their coverage of the communal riots in North East Delhi.
“It appeared that the telecast of the reports on North East Delhi violence had been shown in a manner that highlighted the attack on places of worship and siding towards a particular community,” an order by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry said about MediaOne TV’s coverage.
It had said that the channel’s reporting of Delhi violence was biased, questioned the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and accused Delhi Police of inaction.
Violence had broken out between the supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing the law in North East Delhi between February 23 and February 26, 2020. The violence claimed 53 lives and hundreds were injured. The majority of those killed were Muslims.