The Kerala High Court on Wednesday dismissed the appeal moved by Malayalam news channel MediaOne TV against the single judge order upholding the recent ban imposed on it by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on “national security grounds.”
The channel has been off-air since February.
The division bench upheld the order of MIB after considering the files produced by the Union government in a sealed cover.
“We have perused the confidential files and we are convinced that there is threat to national security”, the division bench of Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly said while pronouncing the verdict.
The ban on Media One TV will continue.
The channel said it will approach the Supreme Court.
In the appeal by channel, has been pointed out that under the camouflage of national security, the Ministry has prohibited the broadcasting of a news channel that has been in existence for more than a decade. The channel raised the grievance that the exact reasons of refusal were not disclosed to it.
On 31 January, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting shut down the Malayalam news channel MediaOne TV, citing “national security reasons.” The channel was unable to broadcast for a few hours until the Kerala High Court issued a two-day stay, thereupon resuming its telecast. On 2 February, the court issued an extension of the stay, allowing operations to continue until February 7.
During the hearing, Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave appearing for the channel emphasised the freedom of the press and its ambit under Article 19(1) of the Constitution through several decisions.
Global journalist bodies, Opposition leaders and media fraternity across the country backed the channel and called out the Union government action “arbitrary”.
In March 2020, the Union govt imposed a 48-hour ban on MediaOne for its reportage on the Delhi pogrom alleging
“channel seems to be critical towards Delhi Police and RSS.”