Al Jazeera, which is banned in the country for five days, for repeatedly showing wrong map of India during 2013 and 2014 condemns the ban heavily and has proposed a mutual talk with the Government of India. According to the letter, the channel claimed that it has corrected the error earlier, when the Government first reported the issue.
Al Anstey, Managing Director, Al Jazeera-English, also blamed the Government for denying visas for their journalists. “This ban is a disproportionate response to an issue that we fixed promptly after it was pointed out. It needlessly deprives Indian viewers of our global news and programmes. Unfortunately, this is the latest in a series of ongoing issues. Our journalists have not been granted visas for years now,” he said.
“We approach India like we do any other country – showing the world the positive and the negative, the humanity, and the diversity. This can be easily witnessed in the integrity and quality of the output that we have been allowed from India. We have though been severely hampered for too long by constraints placed upon us when trying to tell Indian stories to the world. This is why I’m writing to the information minister seeking talks that will help us move forward in a constructive way,” he added.
The ban is effective from the midnight of April 22 and extends to April 27. Viewers on Dish TV, Tata Sky, Reliance and Airtel Digital TV now cannot access the channel. The channel omitted Lakshadweep Island from the map of India and showed a part of Kashmir as it belonged to Pakistan. An inter-ministerial committee examined the matter and decided the verdict.
The channel initially claimed that they are using their own style guide of the map. Now the channel says that the map is produced by an external software and a similar division is shown in it, but India hasn’t shown any objection to it.