The Supreme Court on Friday stayed an Assam Government order to cancel the accreditation granted to the journalists of North-East Television to cover the 33rd National Games that was inaugurated by UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi in Guwahati.
Staying the operation of the February 6 order of the state government, a Bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan ordered restoration of the accreditation facility to the NE TV reporters and cameramen to enable them to cover the National Games.
The TV channel's urgent petition was mentioned before the court by senior Counsel Harish Salve, who submitted that the action amounted to violation of the constitutionally-guaranteed right to freedom of speech & expression and the right to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation trade or business.
The channel alleged that the gag order passed by the Assam Government was intended to silence it for having done an "unbiased" coverage of the recent killing of Hindi speaking people by suspected ULFA militants.
It had alleged that the withdrawal of accreditation was a vindictive action by the state as the channel had exposed the killing of innocent people in the region, which was not viewed favourably by the state government.
Launched in 2003, NE TV airs news bulletins in 17 prominent languages of the Noth East and has viewers in eight states - Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Mizoram and Nagaland.