Supreme Court media verdict: The Supreme Court today overturned the Centre’s ban on Malayalam news station ‘MediaOne,’ and chastised the government for refusing the TV channel security clearance. The centre claimed that it had rejected approval based on intelligence inputs.
In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court decided on Wednesday against the Union Government’s transmission ban on the Malayalam news channel MediaOne.
The Court issued the ruling in response to a special leave petition filed by Madhyamam Broadcasting Ltd (MBL), the channel’s operator, challenging the Kerala High Court’s decision to uphold the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s decision not to renew the channel’s broadcast licence due to a lack of security clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs. Separate petitions were also filed by the channel’s editor, Pramod Raman, and the Kerala Union of Working Journalists in response to the High Court’s decision.
5 Point about Supreme Court Landmarks Judgement on Mediaone:
The court ruled that MediaOne’s criticism of the government’s policies and conduct cannot be interpreted as anti-national or anti-establishment and that an independent press is necessary for a functioning democracy.
The Supreme Court overturned an order by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting that refused to renew the channel’s broadcast licence due to a lack of security clearance, and chastised the Home Ministry for making national security allegations out of ‘thin air’.
[MediaOne Judgment] Critical views of media cannot be termed anti establishment and use of this term would mean that press must support the establishment: Supreme Court pic.twitter.com/hUX5BSOUCP
— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) April 5, 2023
“National security cannot be invoked to deny people their rights… it was invoked cavalierly in this case by the MHA,” the judge stated.
“The administration cannot be allowed to take the position that the press must support the government,” the court stated, adding that criticism of the government cannot be used to cancel a TV channel’s licence.
Taking a strong stance against the Centre’s attempt to conceal its reasoning and filing them under “Sealed cover proceedings cannot be used to prevent the harm caused by public immunity proceedings,” the court stated. We believe that public immunity proceedings are a less restricted way to protect the public interest.”
MediaOne, which had multiple run-ins with the BJP-led government at the centre, went off the air last year on January 31 after the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting removed its name from the list of approved stations.
The Supreme Court stayed the Kerala High Court judgement, which had supported the centre’s decision, on March 15, last year.