New Delhi: Asianet News and MediaOne, two Malayalam language news channels have been banned for a period of 48 hours for their 'coverage of the Delhi riots'. The order came from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.
Reportedly, both the channels were taken off the air at about 7.30 PM on Friday, March 6, making many households' television screens go black.
The action comes over alleged violation of certain provisions of the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994 separately by the two channels. The I and B Ministry has cited rules 6(1)(c) and 6(1)(e) under the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994.
The Ministry's order accused the channels of being provocative, critical of the police, siding with a particular community, and showing CAA supporters in poor light. It also alleged that the coverage could have incited violence and noted that MediaOne was critical of the RSS.
TNM reports that Asianet News's report by journalist PR Sunil on the violence in Jaffrabad and about Delhi police being mute spectators, and MediaOne's phone-in conversation with its Delhi correspondent Hassanul Banna on the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protesters being injured and police’s refusal to visit the spot and nab the vandals, led to the temporary ban.
“It appeared that the telecast of the reports on North-East Delhi violence had been shown in a manner that highlighted the attack on places of worship and siding towards a particular community. 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 RSS and alleges Delhi Police inaction. The channel seems to be critical towards Delhi Police and RSS,” the Ministry's order said in connection with MediaOne.
In Asianet News' case, the order read that the coverage could have ‘incited violence and posed danger to maintenance of law and order situation, particularly when the situation is already highly volatile and charged up and riots are taking place in the area’.
Rule 6(1)(c) provides that no programme should be carried in the cable service which contains an attack on religions or communities or visuals or words contemptuous of religious groups or which promote communal attitudes.
Rule 6(1)(e) 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 promotes anti-national attitudes.
The two channels filed their replies individually to the ministry on March 3. After examining the replies and the evidence furnished by the two channels in their defence, the ministry concluded that the provisions of Cable Television Network Rules, 1994 have been violated by the channels.
The two television channels have been prohibited for transmission and retransmission of their programmes on any platform throughout India for 48 hours.
It can be recalled that in November of 2016, NDTV had been taken off the air for their coverage of the Pathankot terrorist attack, which allegedly violated norms of the Cable TV Network Rules, 1994 that prevent live coverage of anti-terrorist operations.
(With inputs from IANS)
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