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Kerala HC revokes I&B ban on MediaOne channel

The Kerala High Court on Monday stayed the Information and Broadcasting Ministry's order revoking Media One Channel's licence and removing the channel's name from the list of permitted channels for two days. The revoke order, to be implemented with immediate effect, is a reprieve for the Malayalam news channel as it comes hours after the I&B ban order.

Justice Nagaresh, who heard the matter, posted it on Wednesday. The court has also issued notice to Planetcast Media Services Ltd, and the union government in this regard.

Hours after the ministry suspended the telecasting of MediaOne, the channel filed a writ petition. Senior lawyer Sreekumar appeared for the channel.

Appearing for the Union Government, the Additional Solicitor General S Manu strongly opposed passing an interim order, claiming that it is not an essential service. The court, however, ruled that the broadcasting should not be stalled until a final order has been passed. 

The Ministry of Home Affairs has denied the security clearance to Madhyamam Broadcasting Limited for renewal of permission for uplinking and downlinking of Media One.

A Show Cause Notice (SCN) dated 5 January 2022 was sent to the company as to why the permission granted to them for uplinking and downlinking of the channel should not be revoked or cancelled. The company, in its reply to the SCN on 19 January 2022, has mentioned that it is unaware of the grounds for denial of security clearance and requested not to initiate any further proceedings in the matter.

The I&B Ministry said in its order that 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, said the order.

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