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Politics India

Regime fails to muzzle the watchdog

I&B Ministry forced to lift 48-hour ban on two Malayalam channels

Sabrangindia 07 Mar 2020

OrderImage Courtesy: jammulinksnews.com

On Friday evening, in a shocking order, two channels from Kerala, Asianet News TV and Media One TV, were placed under a 48-hour ban by the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry. In it order the ministry accused both of highlighting attacks on places of worship, siding with one particular community and blaming the police for alleged inaction.

Asianet had also been accused of reporting that rioters were attacking people after asking their religion. Meanwhile Media One was also accused of being critical of not just the Delhi Police, but also of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological progenitor of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government. Media One also ruffled feathers for reporting that supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) had caused widespread violence. Both channels were placed on a 48 -hour ban starting 7:30 PM on Friday. They were issued show cause notices.

The entire order of the I&B Ministry may be read here:

Order

Order

What is most noteworthy about the order, is that it doesn’t say even once that the reportage was factually incorrect! This appeared to be a clear case of a vindictive regime attempting to misuse resources available to it to muzzle the fourth estate. The move set the cat among the pigeons and drew sharp criticism.

Youth leader and scholar Umar Khalid tweeted:

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor meanwhile said:

Senior journalist Vinod K. Jose tweeted:

In their response to the ridiculous order, both channels defended their coverage and maintained that it was based on what their reporters saw and what eyewitnesses told them. The Telegraph reported Media One as saying in its response that it “is the duty of the media under Article 19(1)(a) read with Article 15(2) of the Constitution of India to bona fide investigate and report news truly and correctly.” Asianet News TV is owned by BJP Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrashekhar, and their reporter on the ground PR Sunil, also stood steadfast by his reportage.

On Saturday morning, the I&B ministry was forced to take back the order and lift the ban. While Asianet was back on air in the early hours of the morning, Media One was back on air at about 9:30 AM.

Regime fails to muzzle the watchdog

I&B Ministry forced to lift 48-hour ban on two Malayalam channels

OrderImage Courtesy: jammulinksnews.com

On Friday evening, in a shocking order, two channels from Kerala, Asianet News TV and Media One TV, were placed under a 48-hour ban by the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry. In it order the ministry accused both of highlighting attacks on places of worship, siding with one particular community and blaming the police for alleged inaction.

Asianet had also been accused of reporting that rioters were attacking people after asking their religion. Meanwhile Media One was also accused of being critical of not just the Delhi Police, but also of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological progenitor of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government. Media One also ruffled feathers for reporting that supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) had caused widespread violence. Both channels were placed on a 48 -hour ban starting 7:30 PM on Friday. They were issued show cause notices.

The entire order of the I&B Ministry may be read here:

Order

Order

What is most noteworthy about the order, is that it doesn’t say even once that the reportage was factually incorrect! This appeared to be a clear case of a vindictive regime attempting to misuse resources available to it to muzzle the fourth estate. The move set the cat among the pigeons and drew sharp criticism.

Youth leader and scholar Umar Khalid tweeted:

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor meanwhile said:

Senior journalist Vinod K. Jose tweeted:

In their response to the ridiculous order, both channels defended their coverage and maintained that it was based on what their reporters saw and what eyewitnesses told them. The Telegraph reported Media One as saying in its response that it “is the duty of the media under Article 19(1)(a) read with Article 15(2) of the Constitution of India to bona fide investigate and report news truly and correctly.” Asianet News TV is owned by BJP Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrashekhar, and their reporter on the ground PR Sunil, also stood steadfast by his reportage.

On Saturday morning, the I&B ministry was forced to take back the order and lift the ban. While Asianet was back on air in the early hours of the morning, Media One was back on air at about 9:30 AM.

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