Editor of MediaOne channel dares Union government to arrest him
Pramod Raman, editor of MediaOne channel that had to go off air because its licence was not renewed citing security concerns, has dared the Union government to arrest him if any content on the channel had threatened national security.
“Let the Union government’s police come and arrest me if there is anything that threatens national security in the content,” Raman said at a seminar organised by the Muslim Youth League of the Indian Union Muslim League in Kozhikode on Sunday.
“I am the one who is responsible for all the content in MediaOne,” said Raman who assumed charge about six months ago. “Why are you hesitating? What is the reason for this hesitation?” Raman asked the Union government.
The information and broadcasting ministry had refused to renew the broadcasting licence on the grounds that the home ministry had not given security clearance. The channel has not been told why the security clearance was denied.
The channel was first taken off air on January 31 for about seven hours before the Kerala High Court granted a stay on the order of the ministry of information and broadcasting.
But after hearing its petition, the single bench upheld the decision to revoke its license upon considering the secret contents of a sealed cover submitted by the Union government. A division bench of the high court that heard the channel’s appeal has reserved its orders.
MediaOne has since been visible only on YouTube that doesn’t come under the purview of the broadcasting norms.
“Big words like national security and threat to national security are being used. The high court judge also referred to the contents of the sealed cover and said something to the effect that this channel should not function for even an hour,” Raman said recalling the ruling of Justice N. Nagaresh.
“Let me be arrested. If not, it means that whatever has been said and submitted there (in the court) are just hollow arguments. So, was broadcast of MediaOne stopped because of hollow reasons or serious reasons? That is the main issue here,” he said, adding that the government merely wants to spread a cloud of suspicion in the minds of the people.
“The government that doesn’t even disclose the reason for this (revoking the license) is only aiming at spreading a cloud of suspicion in people’s minds. Let the people suspect that MediaOne is a channel that works against the nation. This is the objective. But that won’t work. We don’t intend to allow that, (and) that is the decision of MediaOne,” he said challenging the government to disclose the reason to the people.
Raman reminded the government that citizens in the country live under the hope that their rights will be protected. “We are living under a democratically elected government under the assurance that our rights will be protected. (But) we also see how our rights can be denied,” he added.
The channel owned by Madhyamam Broadcasting Limited had applied to renew its license in May 2021 well ahead of the expiry date of September 29, 2021. But the information and broadcasting ministry served the channel with a show cause notice on January 5 this year seeking explanation on why its license should not be revoked in view of the lack of national security clearance by the Union home ministry.