The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, stayed the union government order banning Malayalam news channel MediaOne and said it can resume operations on the same basis as before the revocation of its security clearance.
The apex court granted this interim relief after hearing the appeal filed by Madhyamam Broadcasting Ltd, which owns MediaOne, challenging the Kerala High Court judgment upholding the ban.
The Supreme Court also directed the union government to file its counter affidavit in the matter.
MediaOne went off air on January 31 after its license renewal was denied by the Information & Broadcasting Ministry citing national security reasons. Shortly after this, its operator Madhyamam 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 hearing of this 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.
However, after perusing the relevant files from the MHA that recommended the cancellation of the channel’s license citing national security reasons, the High Court, on February 8, said there was sufficient justification for the denial of security clearance to the channel and upheld the order that banned it.
When Madhyamam Broadcasting Ltd filed an appeal against this judgment, the Kerala High Court refused to grant interim relief to the channel. It was then that the company had moved the Supreme court challenging the High Court order.
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.