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Kerala High Court Upholds Ban on MediaOne

The Kerala High Court, on Tuesday, upheld the revocation of the license of Malayalam news channel MediaOne by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.


On January 31, MediaOne went off air after its license renewal was denied by the Ministry citing national security reasons. Shortly after this, its operator Madhyamam Broadcasting Limited filed a writ petition before the High Court seeking to set aside the order issued by the I&B Ministry. The petition stated that the channel was not involved in any sort of anti-national activity.

During a previous hearing of the petition, the channel’s counsel had said that a show cause notice was issued to MediaOne on January 5 asking why its license should not be revoked in consideration of national security and public order. While the company had responded seeking an opportunity for hearing, the Ministry had ignored this and revoked its permission with immediate effect, he added. The channel’s counsel further mentioned that such a notice can only be served by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and not the I&B Ministry.

It is notable that many of the investors in the company are reportedly members of the Kerala chapter of Jamaat-e-Islami. The channel had previously been banned for 48 hours in 2020 for allegedly violating the provisions of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1998 during its reportage of the Delhi riots that year.

On Friday, the High Court had asked the MHA to produce the files that recommended the cancellation of the news channel.


After perusing the files from the MHA, the High Court observed on Tuesday that it had found sufficient justification for the denial of security clearance to the channel. “Going through the files, I find that the Ministry has called for intelligence inputs. Based on the intelligence inputs, the committee of officers has found that security clearance should not be given. The Ministry has decided to accept the finding of the committee of officers. There are inputs justifying the denial of security clearance. Therefore, I am dismissing the writ petition,” the court ruled, thus upholding the ban on the channel.

The I&B Ministry subsequently released a statement noting that the High Court had “upheld the revocation of uplink and downlink permission to Media One News and Current Affairs Channel by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.”

However, MediaOne said in a statement that “the legal battle against the central government’s action will continue.”