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I&B Ministry lifts 48-hour ban on Kerala channels

I&B Ministry lifts 48-hour ban on Kerala channels
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The government on Saturday revoked a 48-hour ban on two leading Malayalam news channels hours after imposing the punitive measure on separate charges of being critical of the RSS, Delhi Police and siding with one community while covering last month's violence in the national capital.

New Delhi : The government on Saturday revoked a 48-hour ban on two leading Malayalam news channels hours after imposing the punitive measure on separate charges of being critical of the RSS, Delhi Police and siding with one community while covering last month's violence in the national capital.

It was not immediately clear whether widespread criticism of the ban on Asianet News and Media One channels prompted the government to withdraw the restrictions.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters in Pune that Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed concern over the entire issue, adding the government supports press freedom.

Without going into specifics, Javadekar said he would look into the matter and take "essential steps" if any wrongdoing is found.

"I will definitely go into the details and take essential steps if there is any wrongdoing. But let me also tell you that everybody should accept that there has to be responsible freedom," he said.

The channels were suspended for 48 hours beginning 7:30 pm on Friday over their coverage of the communal violence in Delhi.

The official orders said that the channels covered events of February 25 in a manner that "highlighted the attack on places of worship and siding towards a particular community".

The ban on Asianet News was lifted at 1.30 am, while the ban on Media One was lifted at 9.30 am on Saturday, a source in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting told PTI.

In its order against Media On, the ministry said the channel questioned the RSS and accused Delhi Police of inaction.

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