Delhi violence: I&B ministry lifts 48-hour ban on Asianet News, Media One

Media One and
Asianet News, the two Malayalam language channels that were placed under a 48-hour ban by the Union ministry of information and broadcasting were back on air on Saturday morning.

Following the lifting of the ban, Asianet News was back on air at 1.30 am and Media One at 9.30 am.

The I&B ministry on Friday imposed a 48-hour ban for their alleged “biased” reportage of the
Delhi violence.

The action against Asianet News and Media One follows the ministry’s accusation that both channels flouted the programme code and “highlighted the attack on places of worship” and sided with one particular community.

The ban order came under sharp protests by the from the political class who referred to the decision as an unprecedented attack on media freedom. Congress leader P Chidambaram and CPM chief Sitaram Yechury condemned the action as “undemocratic and authoritarian”.

In its order on Media One, the government had also said the channel deliberately focused on vandalism by CAA supporters. “It also questions RSS and alleges Delhi Police inaction. Channel seems to be critical towards Delhi Police and RSS,” the ministry’s March 6 order said. The ministry also showcaused Media One, but remained dissatisfied with the channel’s response.

Media One editor in chief CL Thomas, however, had condemned the government action as an attack on “free and fair journalism” and said the organisation would challenge the government’s decision legally.

In the case of Asianet News, the ministry had taken exception to the channel alleging that the “central government did not act to control the riots, and central forces reached the riot hit areas after long hours of the meeting of Union minister Amit Shah.”

Both channels were issued show-cause notices by the ministry, in which they defended their reportage and asserted the coverage was not contemptuous of any of any religious group. However, the ministry remained unimpressed and imposed the 48-hour ban on their telecast.

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