The security clearance of English TV news channel Al Jazeera has been withdrawn by the Indian government. Without the clearance, the channel will need to stop broadcasting in the country.
While the government has provided no explanation, media reports suggest that the decision was taken after the broadcast of a documentary about the militancy in Kashmir.
According to official documents, the security clearance was given by the home ministry on December 3, 2010 and withdrawn on May 29, 2018. Al Jazeera English is run by AJI International Pvt Ltd Al Jazeera English executives declined to comment. There was no response from the home ministry to the queries as well. The channel told the government in its representation that “the documentary on the militant networks in Kashmir devoted a substantial 10 minutes to the central government’s efforts and the views of its officials.”
Pertinently the Al Jazeera channel was banned earlier as well. In 2015, the channel was suspended for five days for incorrectly showing the map of India with respect to Jammu and Kashmir. At that time, the channel put out a blank screen for five days with the following message: “As instructed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, this channel will not be available from 00.01 hours on April 22 till 00.01hours on April 27, 2015.”
In July 2018, when the top Hizb commander Burhan Wani was killed, the Central government had written to foreign journalists stationed in India advising them to obtain prior permission for visiting Jammu and Kashmir.
“The government is keen to call out and prevent any adverse reporting on Kashmir by foreign media outlets,” reads a report. In May, the external publicity division of ministry of external affairs (MEA) sent letters to foreign journalists reminding them that they require prior permission to travel to certain areas under the Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order, 1958. These include Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and parts of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan.