The ministry of information and broadcasting on Saturday lifted the ban on two Kerala-based news channels over their coverage of the violence in Delhi over the Citizenship Amendment Law (CAA).
The I&B ministry imposed a 48-hour ban on two Malayalam news channels Asianet News and Media One on Friday for their coverage of the violence in north-east Delhi, which it said could ”enhance communal disharmony”.
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The ban on Asianet News was lifted at 1.30 am, while the ban on Media One was lifted at 9.30 am on Saturday, a source at the ministry of information and broadcasting told PTI. The two channels had reportedly written to the ministry seeking revocation of the bans, following which it was lifted.
The government on Friday said it had found the two channels in violation of the programme code prescribed under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 following which the ministry ordered the prohibition of transmission or re-transmission of the channels for 48 hours with effect from 7.30pm on March 6.
The order on Asianet News TV said, ”while reporting such critical incident, the channel (Asianet News) should have taken 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 news channel responded to the notice saying its reports were factual and never intended to attack a religion or a community.
Earlier in the day, former Union minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram had criticised Centre’s decision to suspend the transmission of two news channels.
Shut down order against two TV channels is an unconstitutional interference with the freedom of the Press.
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) March 7, 2020
”The Ministry of I&B plays the roles of Prosecutor, Jury and Judge. This is a travesty of justice. All media entities should protest vehemently. The government must scrap the Shut down order forthwith,” he tweeted.
The suspensions came after 53 people died in large-scale communal violence in parts of Delhi between February 23 and 26.
(With PTI inputs)