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MHA withdraws security clearance of eight cos including Maa TV; Star not impacted

NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has denied security clearance to eight companies including Maa TV Network’s four channels and Positiv Television’s six channels, Minister of State in the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore informed the Lok Sabha.

Maa TV Network’s denial not to impact Star India

In the case of Maa TV Network, the security clearance was withdrawn on 5 August. Following the withdrawal of security clearance, the MIB issued a show-case notice to the company on 12 August. Subsequently, the letter was forwarded to the MHA on 7 December along with the company’s response.

A source close to the development told TelevisionPost.com that the security clearance was withdrawn to the earlier company Maa TV Network. It will have no impact on Star as it has only acquired Maa TV’s content library and brand and not the company.

“Maa Television Pvt Ltd was served a show-cause notice by the MHA for security-related aspects. Star did not acquire the company. They had only acquired their content and brand,” explained the source.

Maa Television Network has four directors Nagarjuna Rao Akkineni, Nimmagadda Prasad, Sohrab Kersasp Chinoy and Ram Charan Tej Konidala. In 2012, Nimmagadda Prasad was arrested by the CBI in connection with alleged illegal assets of YSR Congress Party leader YS Jaganmohan Reddy.

It is pertinent to note that Star India had in February acquired Maa TV’s broadcast business for $375 million.

The Rupert Murdoch-owned company had also received fresh uplinking and downlinking licence for Maa TV channels, namely Maa TV, Maa Movies, Maa Gold and Maa Music.

Sun TV Network

As is known, the MHA has withdrawn security clearance to Sun TV Network’s 33 channels. The matter is sub judice as the company has challenged the denial of security clearance in Delhi and Madras High Courts.

Regarding Sun TV, which was also denied security clearance for its FM radio stations, the ministry will take further action after receiving the court orders, Rathore said.

Positiv TV

Positiv Television, which has often been linked to Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) chairman and Congress leader Naveen Jindal, had its security clearance withdrawn on 10 June.

The MIB issued the show-cause notice on 27 July, following which the ministry forwarded the letter to the MHA on 17 October along with the company’s response.

The company runs a fleet of five channels including Focus News, Focus Haryana, Focus Bangla, Focus Odisha, Focus NE, and Focus Hi Fi. Earlier in the year, the company had shuttered Focus NE and Focus Hi Fi.

Mahuaa Media

The MHA has cancelled security clearance of Mahuaa Media’s five channels.
The security clearance of Mahuaa Media, whose promoters are being probed for financial fraud, was withdrawn on 6 April. The show-cause notice was issued on 17 August. The company has submitted its reply to the show-cause notice, which is being forwarded to the MHA.

Dr JK Jain’s STV Enterprise and other media firms

The security clearance of JK Jain-promoted (not to be confused with Dr JK Jain of Jain TV) STV Enterprises’ four channels, Indira Television’s one channel, and Lemon Entertainment’s two channels was withdrawn on 17 November, 8 October, and 30 November respectively. The show-cause notices in all three cases are under process.

STV Enterprises owns and operates Punjab Today, STV J&K News, STV Haryana News, and STV UP News.

Indira Television is owned by YSR Congress party chief Jaganmohan Reddy. It owns and operates Telugu news channel Sakshi TV. Delhi-based Lemon Entertainment runs two channels, Jhankar Movies and Lemon News. It was earlier known as Hamara Samay TV News Network.

Further action on Sai Prakash Telecommunication’s Khabar Bharti is under process, as the company has not replied to the ministry’s show-cause notice dated 1 September. The company’s security clearance was withdrawn on 11 August 2014.

List of eight companiesCase of security clearance denial-withdrawal by MHA in R-O Permitted TV channels-teleports as on 08122015Rathore said that four companies have been served show-cause notices, while the same is under process for three other companies. The ministry will decide on these cases based on their reply in consultation with the MHA, he added.

Explaining the procedure, Rathore said that TV channels are permitted to uplink/downlink in this country only after obtaining security clearance from the MHA and clearances from other departments concerned.

The ministry does not grant permission/renewal to TV channels whose security clearance is denied by the MHA. Companies holding such permissions are issued a show-cause notice on the basis of legal advice obtained recently that gives them an opportunity to make their representation.

After consideration of the same, their permission is cancelled with the approval of competent authority on merits.

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