NEW YORK: The Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent watchdog body, has called on Indian authorities to allow the Malayalam-language news channel MediaOne TV, which is reportedly is linked to an Islamic political party, to operate freely, and not suspend broadcasters over their work.
India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting suspended the broadcaster for unspecified “security reasons” and because it allegedly had not been granted a security clearance by the Home Ministry during its license renewal, according to news reports and a statement by the outlet.
Following the suspension, the Kerala High Court temporarily postponed the government’s order until a hearing later in the week, the reports said. The channel has since resumed live broadcasting.
“Indian authorities should not use vague security concerns to suspend broadcasters like MediaOne TV,” Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator, in Washington, D.C., said in a statement. “The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting must drop its bid to ban MediaOne TV and stop efforts to create such a harmful precedent.”
MediaOne TV is owned by Madhyamam Broadcasting Limited, many of whose investors are members of the Kerala state chapter of the Islamic organization, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, according to the Indian press reports. The channel has critically reported on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the parent organization of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, as well as the government’s response to protests surrounding the Citizenship Amendment Act and farming legislation.
CPJ said it emailed the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Home Ministry for comment, but did not immediately receive any replies.