Govt takes Al Jazeera off air over Kashmir map row | india | Hindustan Times
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Govt takes Al Jazeera off air over Kashmir map row

india Updated: Apr 22, 2015 15:43 IST

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The government took Al Jazeera news channel off the air on Wednesday for five days after officials insisted it had repeatedly shown wrong maps of Kashmir.

Al Jazeera in India 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".

An official said the order was made earlier this month over the maps that showed parts of the Kashmir region in arch-rival Pakistan and China, an extremely sensitive issue in India.

"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 China," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The order 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 Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

They include a ban on screening a BBC documentary on the fatal gang-rape of a student that sparked mass protests in Delhi.

Al Jazeera India bureau chief Anmol Saxena said the channel has "made representations to the ministry" and was hopeful of having the order revoked.

According to local media reports, Al Jazeera breached India's broadcasting code over the maps shown in 2014 and 2013 which on some occasions also did not include the Lakshadweep and Andaman islands.

The government in 2011 ordered The Economist magazine cover up a map of Kashmir. The news weekly placed white stickers over a diagram of the borders on 28,000 copies on sale in India.

"Eventually India might realise how idiotic this looks," the magazine's South Asia bureau chief Adam Roberts tweeted over the order against Al Jazeera.