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Supreme Court issues notice on Media One’s plea challenging ban

The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice on a plea challenging the non-renewal of the broadcast licence of Malayalam TV channel Media One TV, backed by the Kerala chapter of Jamaat-e-Islami.

The court also issued notice on the channel’s interim prayer to allow it to resume operations and fixed March 15 to hear the matter.

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud, Suyra Kant and Vikram Nath issued notice on the appeal by Madhyamam Broadcasting Limited, which runs the channel, against the Kerala High Court order upholding the Centre’s decision.

The court also asked the Centre to produce files that were relied upon by the Kerala High Court.

“Issue notice returnable on March 15, 2022…The respondents shall produce all the relevant files on which reliance is placed by the High Court in the impugned judgment on the next date of listing”, the bench ordered.

Media One was banned by the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting after the Ministry of Home Affairs refused to give clearance to the channel, citing “security reasons”. On February 9, a single bench of the Kerala High Court upheld the ban on the channel.

A division bench of the Kerala High Court on March 2 upheld the ban on the channel, dismissing appeals filed by the management and journalists who had challenged the February 9 order.

The high court division bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chali observed that when certain issues with respect to the security of the State are concerned, the government is at liberty to decline to renew the permission granted without disclosing complete reasons for the non-renewal.

The bench observed that in the files produced before it, there are certain aspects affecting the public order, or the security of the State, on the basis of the report of the Intelligence Bureau and other investigating agencies.

It said that “certain aspects relating to the security of the State are mentioned to the effect that Madhyamam Broadcasting Limited has some linkages with certain undesirable forces, which is stated to be a security threat”.

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