Govt grants ‘conditional security clearance’ to Al Jazeera English


NEW DELHI: Al Jazeera, the international English news channel which ran into rough weather with the government over violations of the Broadcast Programming Code relating to ‘wrong depiction’ of the Indian map, was granted ‘conditional security clearance’ by the home ministry in July.

The conditional clearance was issued for three years and is subject to Al Jazeera giving a written undertaking that it will adhere, in letter and spirit, to the prescribed programming codes laid down by the government.

Sources said Al Jazeera’s 10-year security clearance expired in 2015 and it was granted two interim extensions of one year each until 2017, after the Qatar-based news channel petitioned the MHA for a renewal of its security licence.

Following the MHA’s denial of security clearance to the channel in May, Al Jazeera was placed on the I&B ministry’s list of ‘suspended’ channels, disallowing its telecast. The channel, however, followed up with another request for review by the government, and the MHA granted it ‘conditional security clearance’ of three years in July.

This is not the first time the news channel has had a run-in with Indian authorities. In 2015, Al Jazeera English was taken off air for five days for showing “faulty” maps of the Kashmir region.

Al Jazeera English had then run a blue screen on its channel for the entire duration of the five-day ban saying it was doing so “as instructed by the ministry of information and broadcasting”.



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