A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Wednesday dismissed appeals filed by the MediaOne, a Malayalam news channel and others against a single judge’s judgment upholding the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s order, revoking the broadcasting licence. The appeals filed by the Madhyamam Broadcasting Limited, Kozhikode, which owns the channel, its Editor and the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) were dismissed by the Bench led by Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chali

Security threat

The Bench, which had “extensively gone” through the files relating to uplinking/downlinking of ‘Media One Life’ and ‘Media One Global, produced by the Centre, observed “certain aspects relating to the security of the State are mentioned to the effect that Madhyamam Broadcasting Limited has some linkages with certain undesirable forces, which is stated to be a security threat.”

The Bench also found that “there are certain serious adverse reports by the Intelligence Bureau against Madhyamam Broadcasting Limited and its Managing Director. The court added that it was true that “the nature, impact, gravity and depth of the issue is not discernible from the files. But, at the same time, there are clear and significant indications impacting the public order and security of the State. Since it is a confidential and sensitive file maintained by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Union of India, we are not expressing anything further in the interest of national security, public order and other aspects concerning the administration of the nation”.

It had also pointed out that when there were “reasons adverse to the interests of the nation”, the government was vested with powers to revoke the licence. The security of the State and the public order are “very vital for the fair and smooth functioning of the nation and therefore, significance and importance shall be provided to the interests of the citizens of this country, rather than other aspects”.

The court said that this was a case where the show cause notice was issued to the company, to which it submitted its objections. It was thereafter that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting forwarded the same to the Ministry of Home Affairs for security clearance, which was declined, and therefore, “it cannot be said that the renewal of the permission is an absolute right unmindful of other grievous situations, once the registration and permission was granted”.

The court pointed out that certain aspects affected the public order or the security of the State on the basis of the report of the Intelligence Bureau and other Investigating agencies.

The Bench said that the Single Judge was right in declining interference with the order passed by the Union Government refusing renewal of uplinking and downlinking permission to Madhyamam Broadcasting Limited for telecasting programmes through ‘Media One TV.