The Supreme Court on Wednesday (April 5) cancelled an order of the Union government banning Kerala-based Malayalam news channel MediaOne TV.
A bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud quashed the order of the Union government refusing to renew the broadcast licence of MediaOne TV on the ground of national security.
“National security claims can’t be made out of thin air,” the Supreme Court bench said.
Also read: SC stays Centre’s order banning telecast of Malayalam channel MediaOne
“An independent Press is vital for democracy. The right to speak truth to power is the duty of every section of the Press. The critical views aired by Media One cannot be termed anti-national. The telecast ban produced a chilling effect on free speech,” Chief Justice Chandrachud said in the order.
“Blanket immunity from transparency and an open court system in national security cannot be granted,” he said.
Also read: Kerala HC on MediaOne: Security clearance must even for licence renewal
The State is using the plea of national security to deny the rights of the citizens. This is incompatible with the rule of law. The mere involvement of issues relating to national security will not allow the State to not act fairly. The sealed cover procedure adopted has rendered the rights of the petitioner as a dry parchment and the procedural guarantees to the petitioners have been rendered otiose, the bench observed.