Kerala HC upholds Mediaone news channel ban

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Kerala High Court dismissed the petition filed by MediaOne news channel challenging the order of Information & Broadcasting Ministry’s order disallowing the telecast and removing the name of the channel from the list of licensed channels.
While pronouncing the judgement Justice N Nagaresh observed that after going through the files of the Ministry of Home Affairs, I find that the Ministry has called for various intelligence agencies inputs. Based on the intelligence inputs, the committee of officers have founded that security clearance should not be given. The Ministry has decided to accept the finding of the Committee of Officers. There are inputs justifying the denial of security clearance. Therefore, I am dismissing the writ petition.”
He further added that the petitioner’s reliance on Supreme Court’s Pegasus judgment was not helpful as it was rendered in the right to privacy context. He also said that he is following the Supreme Court’s judgment in the 2019 case Digicalbe (Network) India Pvt Ltd v Union of India which held that there is no right to prior hearing when clearance is denied on grounds of national security.
On January 31, 2022 MediaOne channel telecast has been disallowed by the I&B Ministry, though security concerns were quoted as the reason, the government didn’t forth come with further details. Hours after the channel went off air the Kerala High Court issued a two day stay on the implementation of the ministry’s order till February 2. Later, the HC extended the interim order deferring I&B Ministry’s order to cancel the permission to telecast Malayalam News Channel Mediaone TV till February 7. The HC also asked the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to file an affidavit by February 7, stating the reasons for denying security clearance to the news channel.

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