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Supreme Court: “Press Has Duty To Speak Truth, Independent Press Necessary”, Said On MediaOne Case

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Batori24 Bureau
Batori24 Bureau
Batori24 is a Vernacular based Assamese news portal based in Guwahati Assam. We are a dedicated news channel covering news and stories across the globe with special reference to Assam, north-east along with National and International news.

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.

Also Read: Bhopal gas tragedy: Supreme Court dismisses Centre’s Plea of more compensation

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’.

“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.

Important quotes by Supreme Court on press freedom

An independent press is essential for the smooth operation of a democratic republic.
Its position in a democratic society is critical because it sheds light on how the State operates.
The press has a responsibility to convey the truth and provide citizens with hard information, allowing them to make decisions that move democracy forward.
Citizens are compelled to think along the same lines as a result of restrictions on journalistic freedom.
A unified viewpoint on matters ranging from socioeconomic policy to political beliefs will endanger democracy.
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