India Bans Al-Jazeera for 5 Days for over Kashmir Map

2015-04-23 06:49:06 | Al Muslim News
India Bans Al-Jazeera for 5 Days for over Kashmir Map


Al-Jazeera English Channel has had its broadcasts in India suspended for five days after officials insisted it had repeatedly shown wrong maps of disputed Kashmir.
Indian government’s five day ban on Al Jazeera began Wednesday over concerns that the Doha-based news network repeatedly aired "wrong maps" of the disputed region of Kashmir region.
In Indian-occupied Kashmir, like the rest of India, the popular Al Jazeera Channel showed a blue screen on Wednesday with a sign saying “as instructed by the ministry of information and broadcasting, this channel will not be available from 00.01 hours on 22nd April till 00.01 hours on 27th April 2015."
Indian government ruled that the Qatar-based international news channel Al Jazeera had previously shown maps that misrepresented the disputed border region of Indian-occupied Kashmir.
The decision to take the channel off air was taken after it came to their notice that Al Jazeera had shown a wrong map of India in some of its broadcasts in 2013 and 2014, according to the Indian ministry.
An official said “The ban has been imposed for five days and it was done on instructions of an inter-ministerial committee, who took cognisance of an incorrect map of India in which the channel showed parts of Kashmir in Pakistan and Chinaâ€
The ban comes amid a simmering censorship row in India over a series of recent bans that have sparked accusations of a growing climate of intolerance under Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
They include a ban on screening a BBC documentary video on the fatal gang-rape of a student that sparked mass protests in Delhi.
Kashmiri leaders saw the move as a desperate measure to control the narrative in the disputed Jammu & Kashmir region.
"It is mere strong-arming on part of India to make sure that it controls the coverage of international news channels on Kashmir," senior Kashmiri resistance leader, Mir Waiz Umar Farooq, told Anadolu Agency.
"Kashmir is a disputed region and the cease-fire line is a temporary line; so Kashmir is not part of India and has been portrayed correctly by Al Jazeera," Farooq said.
The Kashmiri leader, however, also expressed his disappointment with the channel's lack of interest in the Kashmir conflict .
"We are hopeful that Al Jazeera will do justice to the Kashmir issue in terms of reporting and take a keener interest in Kashmir unlike the western media and the statist Indian media, but, unfortunately, they have not done enough," he added.
Al Jazeera News in a statement released on its website Wednesday also condemned the Indian government’s decision to take the channel off air over the Kashmir maps.
"The Kashmir maps, produced by external software, gave the same treatment to Indian-controlled Kashmir, though this was not subject to similar complaints," Al Jazeera said in statement.
Channel’s Managing Director, Al Anstey, called the ban “a disproportionate response.
“Unfortunately, this is the latest in a series of ongoing issues. Our journalists have not been granted visas for years now,†Anstey said in a statement to the media.
“We have though been severely hampered for too long by constraints placed upon us when trying to tell Indian stories to the world,†the statement added, urging the information minister to hold talks “that will help us move forward in a constructive wayâ€.
According to local media reports, In some occasions, it also did not show the Lakshadweep and Andaman islands as parts of India.
The Indian army maintains 600,000 troops to control the overwhelming desire for independence among Kashmiris in the region. The Indian state is known to strictly monitor all printed maps of the valley in books and other media.
Kashmir is a Muslim-majority Himalayan region and held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. The two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- since they were partitioned in 1947, two of which were fought over Kashmir.
Since the partition in 1947, Kashmiri resistance groups in Indian-occupied Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
More than 70,000 Kashmir Muslims have reportedly been killed in the conflict so far and several thousands are missing.


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