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While the prime minister “expresses concern”, the I&B ministry revokes the channel ban, orders the investigation | India News


NEW DELHI: The government revoked a 48-hour broadcast ban on Media One and Asianet News, two channels in Malayalam language, on “partial” reports of the Delhi riots after a few hours on Saturday Prime Minister Narendra Modi “expressed concern” about the turn of events.

While Asianet News returned to the air around 1.30 a.m. On Saturday, Media One resumed transmission at 9.40 a.m. The government order had banned the transmission of the two channels starting at 7:30 p.m. from March 6.

Friday’s order banned the transmission of Media One for allegedly deliberately focusing on vandalism by CAA supporters. Its coverage, according to the order, “questions RSS and alleges the inaction of the Delhi Police,” and appears to be “critical for the Delhi Police and RSS.” Asianet News, on the other hand, was criticized by the government because “it highlighted the attack on places of worship and was leaning towards a particular community.”

After widespread criticism and protests from the journalistic community and the opposition, I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar said he had revoked the order shortly after learning and after Prime Minister Modi also “expressed concern about the course of action”. Javadekar also said it will launch an investigation into how the order was issued and question interested officials of the I&B ministry.

“Two Kerala channels were banned for 48 hours. We immediately discovered what really happened and, therefore, we immediately restored the channels … one of the owners of the channels talked to me and at night, Asianet was on. In the morning, Media One was also underway. Our basic thinking process is that press freedom is absolutely essential in a democratic configuration and that is the commitment of the Modi government because we fight [against] the Emergency in which press freedom was silenced, ”said Javadekar.

The I&B minister also said he will go into details of the incident and take essential measures “if there is any crime.” “But let me also tell you that everyone accepts that the media should exercise responsible freedom,” he said.

Conventionally, government orders are uploaded to the ministry’s website. However, in this case, the last order of the ministry was charged on March 5. The sources also told TOI that the order was not formally delivered on both channels, but was only transmitted through the liaison agencies.

On Saturday, the News Broadcasters’ Association condemned the ministry’s decision. While the president of the NBA, Rajat Sharma, thanked the concern shown by the prime minister, he added that the NBA was “surprised to learn that such a decision was made without the knowledge of the I&B minister.”

“The NBA requires the minister to initiate an investigation into how the order was issued that prohibits the transmission of news channels without their approval. The NBA wants the investigation report shared with him, ”Sharma said in a statement. He demanded that all complaints related to the transmission of news be referred to the News Broadcasting Standards Authority to “avoid the repetition of similar incidents in the future.”

In criticizing the government for its decision, the top Congress official, P Chidambaram, said that the reasons cited for imposing the ban and the act of banning the channels were “heinous.” The head of the CMF, Sitaram Yechury, also condemned the action as “anti-democratic and authoritarian.”

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