Al Jazeera off air in India over map controversy

Channel insists maps had been generated by software used by global news providers
(Picture for illustrative purposes only)
(Picture for illustrative purposes only)


India’s Information and Broadcasting Ministry has taken Al Jazeera off air for five days as a penalty for showing the wrong map of the country.

The New Indian Express reports that the Qatar-based news channel was taken off the air by the Indian government for committing “cartographic aggression” by repeatedly showing the wrong map of the country in various programmes in 2013 and 2014.

The ministry said Al Jazeera had broken Indian broadcasting codes by using maps that failed to include certain parts of India within its boundaries.

The Surveyor General of India said that “a portion of Indian territory has not been shown as a part of India in some of the maps while the territorial boundary of India is not shown with clarity and proper shape in another map. The channel also did not show Lakshadweep and Andaman Islands in some of the maps,” the Deccan Chronicle reported.

In response, Al Jazeera said the maps had been generated by an internationally known software used by global news providers. The channel said it took the Indian government’s concerns seriously and undertook to review all its India and Pakistan maps to ensure they are in line with recent official UN maps.

The suspension came into force on Wednesday, April 22 and will run until Monday, April 27.

The Qatari channel was not the only broadcaster to fall foul of the country’s programme code. TV channels NDTV Good Times and Jai Hind were taken off air for a day for showing obscene content, Gujurat-based Sation News TV was forced off air for 30 days for showing a news item that contained nude visuals of a TV actor, according to New Indian Express.

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