Government of India scraps ‘security clearance’ to Al Jazeera

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New Delhi: The government of India has withdrawn the Al Jazeera English television channel’s security clearance. The decision stemmed, according to reports, from the broadcast of a documentary about militancy in Kashmir that was deemed as being biased.

The fate of the network, which is still on air, now depends on the home ministry’s ruling on a petition by the channel seeking a review, the Economic Times quoting top officials said. For a channel to broadcast content in India, it needs security clearance from the home ministry while the information and broadcasting ministry gives the broadcasting license.

According to official documents, the report by ET said, the security clearance was given by the home ministry on December 3, 2010 and withdrawn on May 29, 2018.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. The channel told the government in its representation that the documentary on militant networks in Kashmir devoted a substantial 10 minutes to the central government’s efforts and the views of its officials, the report said.

This was in the complete version of the documentary but was missed by home ministry officials in the edited version presented to them, the channel said.

This is not the first time Al Jazeera is facing trouble in India.

In 2015, the channel was suspended for five days because it showed an incorrect map of India with respect to Jammu and Kashmir. Al Jazeera was suspended because it was a repeat offence, an official said. The channel showed a blank screen for five days with a message to this effect: “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.”