Supreme Court Allows Jamaat-e-Islami Run Malayalam Propaganda Channel Media One to Resume Operations

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On January 31, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had banned the Jamaat-e-Islami run propaganda channel Media One with immediate effect. The Kerala High Court had upheld the ban in its order on March 2.

In its interim order on Tuesday (March 15), the Supreme Court allowed Jamaat-e-Islami run Malayalam propaganda channel Media One to resume operations.

A Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and Vikram Nath said, “We order and direct that Union Govt order revoking security clearance to Madhyamam Broadcasting Ltd stands stayed. Petitioner be allowed to run Media One on the same basis channel was being operated before security clearance was revoked.”

Madhyamam Broadcasting Ltd is the parent company that runs Media One. In a significant judgment on March 2, the Kerala High Court had upheld the ban on Media One. The division bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chali upheld the February 8 order of the single-judge bench of Justice N Nagaresh.

In an order issued on January 31, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting had said that the Union Home Ministry has declined to give the security clearance to the channel, which is mandatory for the licence.

“The Ministry of Home Affairs has denied the security clearance to M/S. Madhyamam Broadcasting Limited for renewal of permission for uplinking and downlinking of News & Current Affairs TV channel “Media One”,” the order read.

Media One had moved Kerala High Court against the government order. The court had provided it relief till the hearing concluded in the Kerala High Court.

In his February 8 order, Justice N Nagaresh had said, “I have gone through the files. I find that the ministry has called for report from various intelligence agencies. Based on those inputs, it was found that security clearance should not be renewed. There are inputs which justify the decision. Therefore, I am dismissing the petition.”

Media One had challenged the Kerala High Court order of February 8. Appearing for Media One in the Supreme Court, senior advocate Dushyant Dave said, “No media, publication or channel will be saved if this is accepted. Everybody can be shut down tomorrow…How can a democratically elected government deny to produce records and deny freedom of speech and expression. This is completely covered by a judgment of this court. This channel is being shut down just because it is owned by minority individuals.”

After the Ministry of Home Affairs submitted an adverse report, the I&B Ministry had issued a Show Cause Notice (SCN) to Media One, asking why their licence should not be revoked. Finding the reply unsatisfactory, the action was initiated against Media One.

“The permission granted to M/S. Madhyamam Broadcasting Limited to uplink and downlink a News and Current Affairs TV Channel, namely ‘Media One’, is revoked with immediate effect and accordingly the name of this channel is removed from the list of permitted channels,” the ministry order had read.

In February last year, a complaint was lodged with the Delhi police against Media One for ‘exhorting and glorifying violence, including acts of extremist organisations in which they made attempts to destabilise and overthrow the democratically elected Central Government.’

The complainant had pointed out that Media One had actively facilitated the actions of sedition and waging war against the Nation by continuously giving false news and exhorting, encouraging and glorifying it.

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