Millennium Post

Asianet and Media One, banned by Centre for Delhi riots coverage, back on air

Asianet and Media One, banned by Centre for Delhi riots coverage, back on air

Malayalam news channels Asianet News and Media One came back on air on Saturday morning, a day after the Centre placed a 48-hour ban on them for their coverage of the Delhi riots. The channels were taken off the air at 7.30 pm on Friday and were to resume broadcast only at 7.30 pm on Sunday, March 8.

In its unprecedented orders, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry cited "siding" with one community and being "critical towards Delhi Police and RSS" as reasons for its decision. Both the orders accused the channels of having "highlighted the attack on places of worship and siding towards a particular community" during their reporting on the riots.

In the order against Media One News, the I&B Ministry said the channel "questions RSS and alleges Delhi Police inaction", "seems to be critical towards Delhi Police and RSS" and focuses on "vandalism of CAA supporters".

The two separate orders, citing alleged violations of the Programme Code of the Cable TV Network (Regulations) Act, 1995, were issued Friday.

Media One Editor-in-Chief C L Thomas described the decision as the "biggest encroachment of a government on freedom of the media".

"In the history of India, such a ban has never happened. During the Emergency period, there were restrictions on the media. Now the country is not going through Emergency. The decision to bar TV channels is a warning to all media houses in the country that they should not criticise the government,'' he said.

The Ministry stated that the channels appeared to have contravened rules 6(1)(C) and 6(1)(a) of the Cable Television Networks Rules.

These rules prohibit channels from showing any programme "which contains attack on religions or communities or visuals or words contemptuous of religious groups or which promote communal attitudes" and "is likely to encourage or incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promote anti-national attitudes".

The Ministry said it had issued show-cause notices to both channels on February 28, and took the decision to impose the ban after receiving their responses on March 3.

(Inputs and image from

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