The outlet received a notice on Monday, stating that their license had been cancelled.

Kerala High CourtFile photo
news Court Monday, January 31, 2022 - 17:27

The Kerala High Court on Monday, January 31, issued a two-day stay on the implementation of the Union government's order to MediaOne TV to stop broadcasting, hours after the outlet was notified that their license had been cancelled. The Ministry of Home Affairs had denied security clearance to Madhyamam Broadcasting Limited, which would have enabled them to renew their license.

A source in MediaOne TV had told TNM earlier in the day, that the Ministry had communicated about 'security reasons' without elaborating and they were asked to respond as to why their license should not be cancelled. In court, the Union government argued that the security clearance was in the interest of national security, and therefore was not a question of law, but of policy.

However, the media outlet argued that the order was issued without an opportunity to be heard and that it was not involved in any anti-national activity, for security clearance to have been denied.

The interim order of the two-day stay was passed by Justice N Nagaresh. Asking how many times a media company was expected to get clearance, the judge also ruled that the broadcast could not be disrupted.

MediaOne TV is a popular news channel in Kerala, and is well known for their talk shows and journalism. The channel is reportedly owned by Madhyamam Broadcasting Limited, where many of the investors are members of the Kerala chapter of Jamaat-e-Islami.

Pointing out that the guidelines "stipulates that security clearance to the company and its directors is a prerequisite condition for grant of permission for TV channels," the order by the I&B Ministry said that the company had applied for renewal of permission in May last year as its present clearance was only till September 30, 2021. However, the Ministry of Home Affairs denied the security clearance.

In it's order, the ministry said that the company had been issued a show cause notice, to which they replied on January 19, 2022. "In the reply, the company as inter-alia mentioned that they are unaware of the grounds for denial of security clearance and requested not to initiate any further proceedings in the matter...The reply of the company has been examined. The security clearance is based on security parameters of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Since the Ministry of Home Affairs has denied the security clearance. The channel cannot be allowed to operate,” it stated.

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