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Govt orders Al Jazeera to go off air for 5 days for showing wrong map of India

MUMBAI: The government has ordered international news channel Al Jazeera English to go off air for five days for showing wrong map of India.

The Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC) of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) has found the channel guilty of violating the programme code as it aired wrong maps of India on repeated occasions.

Earlier on 21 August 2014, the MIB had served a show-cause notice to the channel for the same offence.

Al JazeeraIt was brought to the MIB’s notice that on repeated occasions the channel had shown a wrong map of India in some of its broadcasts in 2013 and 2014.

The ministry had referred the matter to the Surveyor General of India (SGI) and after receiving its report, the notice was served.

As per the MIB order issued on 10 April, the SGI found that that the maps shown by the channel were wrong as a portion of Indian territory was not shown as part of India in some of the maps. The territorial boundary of India was also not shown with clarity and proper shape in another map.

Additionally, the channel did not show Lakshadweep and Andaman Islands in some of the maps.

In fact, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) also pointed out a similar airing of a wrong map by the channel on 2 July 2014.

Al Jazeera, in its reply, said that all the maps were generated by ‘internationally known software’ used by global news providers.

The channel also submitted that it takes the Indian government’s concerns about maps very seriously and accordingly reviews all its India and Pakistan maps to ensure compatibility with the recent official UN map.

However, the IMC, which was also attended by representatives of the MEA, felt that the channel had clearly violated the provisions of the programme code and recommended prohibiting its transmission or re-transmission in India for five days.