Hyderabad: The ministry of information and broadcasting has banned two Malayalam news channels, Asianet News and Media One, for 48 hours stating that their coverage of the Delhi riots was biased and highlighted the attack on places of worship of a particular community. Both channels are showing black screens from 7:30 p.m on 6 March.

The ministry, in its notice issued to Media One, stated, “Whereas such telecast could incite violence and pose danger to maintenance of law and order situation, particularly when the situation is already highly volatile and charged up and riots are taking place in the area with reports of killings and bloodbath; and it could also stoke the feelings of anger, hatred, and animosity among the communities and hurt their religious sentiments which could ultimately result into escalation of violence.”

It further added, “It appeared that telecast of reports on north-east Delhi violence was shown in a manner which highlighted the attack on places of worship and sided towards a particular community. The channel's reporting on Delhi violence seems to be biased as it is deliberately focusing on the vandalism by the PM's supporters. It also questions the RSS and alleges Delhi police's inaction. The channel seems to be critical towards the Delhi Police and the RSS.”

The ministry said both the channels have violated Rule 6(1)(c) (no showing content which promotes communal violence) and Rule 6(1)(e) (no content to be shown which promotes anti-national attitudes) of the Cable Television Networks Rules 1994. The order stated that the channels can start airing from 7:30 p.m on 8 March.

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