Centre slaps 48-hour ban on two Malayalam news channels

Action taken over their coverage of riots

March 07, 2020 12:27 am | Updated December 03, 2021 06:52 am IST - New Delhi

The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry headed by Prakash Javadekar has imposed a 48-hour ban on two Malayalam news channels — Asianet News and Media One — for their coverage of the Delhi riots, which, the Ministry in its orders said, could “enhance communal disharmony”.

Both channels went off air from 7.30 p.m. on Friday and will remain so till 7.30 p.m. on Sunday.

In a seven-page order, the I&B Ministry indicted Asianet for stating that “the Central government did not act to control the riots” and that “Central forces reached the riot-hit areas after long hours of the meeting of Union Minister Amit Shah.”

In the case of Media One, the Ministry has said: “The channel’s reporting on Delhi violence seems to be biased as it is deliberately focusing on the vandalism of CAA supporters. It also questions the RSS and alleges Delhi police inaction. The channel seems to be critical towards the Delhi police and the RSS.”

The Ministry has held both channels responsible for reportedly highlighting “the attack on places of worship and siding towards a particular community”.

 

The coverage of Delhi riots by both the channels as per the Ministry, was in contravention of Rule 6(1c) of the programme code prescribed under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, that provides that no programme should be carried in the cable service which contains attack on religions or communities or visuals or words contemptuous of religious groups or which promote communal attitudes.

The two channels have, the Ministry order says, also violated Rule 6 (1e) that provides that no programme should be carried in the cable service which is likely to encourage or incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promote anti-national attitudes.

Reprimanding both the channels in two separate orders, the Ministry has said that "utmost care and should have reported it in a balanced way. Such reporting could enhance the communal disharmony across the country when the situation is highly volatile."

The Ministry also noted that repeated advisories have been issued directing the channels to follow the laid down rules.

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