Centre claims it acted against 160 TV news channels as their content harmed India’s integrity
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting also said that it had no role to play regarding the suspension of the Malayalam channel MediaOne.
The government on Thursday told Rajya Sabha that action was initiated against 160 television news channels as their content was harmful for the integrity of India, The Economic Times reported. It added that within two months 60 channels on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter were also blocked for a similar reason.
Speaking during the Rajya Sabha during Question Hour, Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting L Murugan also said that with regards to the Malayalam channel MediaOne, the information and broadcasting ministry was “not doing anything”.
“Channels have to get security clearance from home ministry,” he said. “MediaOne matter is sub judice.”
The Minister of State was responding to a question by Congress member KC Venugopal on the misuse of the law to curb freedom of speech and expression, according to The Tribune.
The Centre suspended the telecast of Malayalam news channel MediaOne TV citing “security reasons”. The channel, which reportedly has the backing of the Kerala chapter of Jamaat-e-Islami members, went off air on January 31.
The Kerala High Court on February 2 asked the Centre to disclose the reason behind cancelling the telecast permission of the news channel. The court extended its interim order deferring the Centre’s decision to suspend the channel’s licence till February 7.
In a written reply, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur said programmes on private television channels must adhere to the code as per the Cable Networks Rules, 1994, The Economic Times reported.
“The government takes action against private satellite TV channels in cases where programme code is found to be violated, by way of issuing advisories, warnings, apology scroll orders, off air orders etc.,” he said. “The Ministry also issues advisories from time to time to private satellite TV channels for adhering to the programme code.”