Al Jazeera Security Clearance Issue

  • Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has revoked security clearance of Qatar government’s state-funded English news broadcaster Al Jazeera.
  • It is believed that main reason for this revocation is documentary made by Qatari channel on militancy in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), which Indian Government viewed as “biased”.
  • Al Jazeera has reportedly filed petition for reviewing this decision.

 

Important:

  • The role of MHA is limited to matter related to security clearance.
  • The decision on cancellation of broadcasting licence of news channel is taken by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

 

Key Facts

  • Foreign channels need security clearance from MHA and broadcasting clearance from Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry.
  • In 2015, Al Zazeera had published an incorrect map of J&K. For this, Government had then suspended it for 5 days in which time they carried blank screen with a message running on it as instructed by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
  • Some other channels whose security clearances were rejected recently include ABC News, Focus NE TV, Voice of Nation, Jhankar News, Maa TV, Bhakti Sagar, M Tunes and Lemon News.
  • In some cases channels have their permissions withdrawn for other reasons too such as owners seeking cancellations, non-operationalisation of channel, non-submission of documents.

 

MEA May 2018 notification

  • In May 2018, Ministry of External Affairs had reminded foreign journalists that it is mandatory for them to take prior permission before travelling to areas such as J&K as well as Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and parts of Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan as these are considered protected and restricted areas.

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