I&B ministry lifts 48-hour ban on Asianet News, Media One

Asianet News and Media one news went off the air Friday.

The Centre on Saturday (March 7) lifted the 48-hour ban imposed on Friday on two Malayalam news channels for reportage that could “enhance communal disharmony” across the country, sources said.

The ban on Asianet News was lifted at 1.30 am, while the ban on Media One was lifted at 9.30 am on Saturday, a source at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting told PTI. Sources said the two channels had written to the ministry seeking revocation of the bans, following which it was lifted.

Following the lifting of the ban, Asianet News was back on air at 1.30 am and Media One at 9.30 am. The channels were suspended for 48 hours over their coverage of last months communal violence in Delhi, with the official orders saying they covered events on February 25 in a manner that “highlighted the attack on places of worship and siding towards a particular community”.

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“Channels reporting on Delhi violence seems to be biased as it is deliberately focusing on the vandalism of CAA supporters,” the ministry order on Media One had said. “It also questions RSS and alleges Delhi Police inaction. Channel seems to be critical towards Delhi Police and RSS.”

The ministry ordered prohibition of transmission or re-transmission of Media One and Asianet News for 48 hours on any platform throughout India with effect from 7.30 pm on Friday to 7.30 pm on Sunday.

The Congress and the CPI had come down hard on the government over the suspension of Media One and Asianet News, calling the clampdown as “stifling of media freedom”.

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