All opportunities are given to TV channels whose licence cancelled: Govt tells LS

Private TV channels whom the government takes action against for allegedly propagating contents detrimental to the national security are given enough opportunities to clarify their stand, Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday. Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting L Murugan said all fresh and renewal applications of private TV channels are vetted by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

He said if any channel’s activity is found to be posing threat to the national security, the MHA denies the security clearance which leads to an automatic cancellation of licence provided by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

“If it is a matter of national security, there can’t be any compromise,” he said during the Question Hour.

The minister said that due process is followed before any action is taken against any TV channel.

“In some cases, the channel concerned does not come with the renewal application, while in other cases we issue show cause notice and if the reply of that show cause notice is found to be not satisfactory, then only we take action,” he said.

Murugan also referred to a Supreme Court order which had backed the government on the matter of national security.

When MP Gaurav Gogoi said the denial of security clearance is amounted to curb of freedom of speech, the minister said such things can’t be compared to 1975 (during emergency) when people had no freedom of speech and personal liberties.

Replying to another supplementary on action against channels which allegedly promoting hate and other contents detrimental to the peace and harmony of society, Murugan said action has been taken in 159 such cases for violating relevant rules and codes.

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