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Dhaka Tribune

2 local channels back on air after Indian govt ban

The ban was imposed for allegedly showing biased content during the Delhi violence

Update : 07 Mar 2020, 11:58 AM

Two Malayalam television channels, “Media One” and “Asianet News,” were back on air on Saturday morning, less than a day after the Indian Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting banned them for 48 hours for allegedly showing biased content and highlighting the attacks on places of worship during the Delhi violence.

The order for Media One had said the channel’s reporting seemed to be “biased” as it “deliberately focused on the vandalism of the CAA [Citizenship Amendment Act] supporters”. “It [the channel] also questions RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] and alleges Delhi Police inaction,” the order said. “Channel seems to be critical towards Delhi Police and RSS”.

While Asianet News came back on air around 1:30am on Saturday, Media One resumed transmission at 9:40am, The News Minute reported. 

An unidentified official at Asianet News told the website that the channel’s board made a representation to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry on Friday night, following which the ban was lifted. 

Media One, which had not made a representation, received a message around 9:30am that transmission was being resumed.

A statement from Media One on Friday had said they would fight the Centre’s “unfortunate and condemnable” decision legally. “This is a blatant attack against free and fair reporting,” it said. “The order also states that Media One has referred to hate speeches made by Kapil Mishra, the BJP leader in Delhi, as a reason for igniting violence in Delhi.” It added that the government’s move was “nothing but an order to stop free and fair journalism.”

Asianet News Editor MG Radhakrishnan had refused to comment on the matter.

Media One is owned by Madhyamam Broadcasting Limited, which is financially backed by the Jamaat-e-Islami group. 

However, Asianet News is under the indirect control of Rajya Sabha Bharatiya Janata Party MP Rajeev Chandrashekhar.

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