BAN ON TV CHANNELS … Modi govt cracks whip on 2 Malayalam TV channels; bans telecast for 2 days

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NEW DELHI: Two Malayalam TV news channels – Asianet News and MediaOne – have been banned from beaming programmes for two days (48 hours) by the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry on Friday evening. The ministry cited violation of established cable and TV rules relating to reporting and telecast –in the context of the recent Delhi riots and mob violence. There were allegations that the two channels carried false reports and fake videos of violence.
The duration of the ban is from 19,30hours on March 6 to the same time on March 8. The order said the ministry had time and again issued advisories to the media about proper conduct in their functioning.
The government order noted that the two channels covered the violence on February 25 in an unacceptable manner as they “highlighted the attack on places of worship and sided with a particular community” (Muslims). MediaOne “deliberately” focused attention exclusively on the violence from pro-CAA mobs, the order said.
The order said the CD containing the telecasts by the two news channels were examined by the I and B ministry.
The order said such kind of reporting would enhance communal disharmony at a time when the situation was volatile. “Both channels had violated two provisions under the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994 – one prohibiting coverage of attacks on religions, and another prohibiting coverage that could incite violence or promote anti-national attitudes or disturb law and order.
Over 50 people had died in the clashes and arson indulged in by pro and anti Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) groups. One one side was Moslems and activist groups protesting against the new law and on the other was those supporting the law, drawn allegedly from the BJP/RSS side.
Asianet News is a private news channel, and MediaOne is from the Kozhikode-based Madhyamam stable, which is seen as the voice of Muslims in Kerala. –IHN-NN

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