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"Press has a duty to speak truth": SC

The Supreme Court on April 5 quashed the Centre’s telecast ban on Malayalam news channel MediaOne and pulled up the Ministry of Home Affairs for raising national security claims in “thin air” without facts. Observing that the State can’t impose unreasonable restrictions on press as it would have a chilling effect on press freedom, a bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud set aside the Kerala High Court order which had upheld the Centre’s decision to ban the channel’s telecast on security grounds. The top court said critical views of the channel against government policies cannot be termed as anti-establishment as an independent press is necessary for a robust democracy. “Press has a duty to speak truth to power and present citizens with hard facts enabling them to make choices that propel democracy in the right direction. The restriction on freedom of press compels citizens to think along the same tangent. “Homogenised views on issues that range from socio economic polity to political ideologies would pose great dangers to democracy,” the bench said, adding that non-renewal of license for a channel is a restriction on the right to freedom of speech.

Press has a duty to speak truth: SC

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