'Collective' decision to be taken on Sun TV network clearance

'Collective' decision to be taken on Sun TV network clearance

The government today said that a final decision on the matter related to 33 channels of Kalanithi Maran-promoted Sun TV network will be taken "collectively" even as reports suggested that the two key concerned ministries had taken diverging views on the issue.

"There may be a difference of approach, which is alright in a democracy, but the final decision on the matter would only be taken collectively," a top government official said.
The comments came in the backdrop of reports that the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Information and Broadcasting ministry differed on the grant of security clearance to the Sun TV network.

Earlier, the Home Ministry had denied security clearance to the network, which is believed to have been influenced by pending cases against Maran and his brother, former Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran.

A security clearance is needed by companies which want to run TV channels. With Home ministry denying security clearance to the network, the I&B ministry had then approached the Law Ministry seeking opinion on the issue.

In his opinion, the Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi reportedly said that security clearance can be granted as agencies are probing cases related to corruption and not security. Hence, he said, corruption cases cannot be the ground to deny security clearance.

As the I&B ministry mulled future course of action following the AG's opinion, reports have appeared suggesting that MHA was not willing to give security clearance to the Sun television network.

The I&B ministry's concerns are that action against the TV network may put it in a tight corner if the broadcaster were to take legal recourse.

"There are various sides to this issue, including those related to right to freedom of expression. It is natural that with their mandates, different ministries may take a different view. But a final decision can only be taken collectively," the official said.

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