The Indian government pulled the plug on Al Jazeera this week over a map: India takes al-Jazeera off-air in Kashmir map row
Yes, I know it is all about protecting national pride and all that. But really?
India is the world’s largest democracy. It should act like one. Pulling the plug on a news organization that shows a map not to the government’s liking is hardly the sign of maturity or democratic principles.
Rather than issue a statement expressing their concern that maybe Al Jazeera had wrongly portrayed who controls what part of Kashmir, the Modi government gets all huffy and kicks over the table.
But to be fair, it is not just this government.
Past governments have gone just as crazy in calling any deviation from the official Indian map “cartographic aggression”.
In 2011, the previous government in India forced Economist to cover up a map used to illustrate a cover story about the border between India and Pakistan because it did not show full Indian sovereignty over Kashmir.
At the time, the magazine said the government was engaging in censorship.
And they were right then. And would be right again today.
Time to grow up India.
Local media is supposed to provide local news. For most people in the world that means information on city councils, mayors, schools and civic groups.
But in Syria, an experiment in local news means identifying where the minefields are and where the snipers are located.
Aleppo TV provides lifeline in wartime
Granted, the “local” news is broadcast from neighboring Turkey, but the news is what is needed at the local level.
The 24-hour, opposition-aligned news channel started a few months after the uprising began in Syria in March 2011, in order to cover protests and broadcast news about the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, back when it was hard to find any independent, non-government-controlled news out of Syria’s largest city.
”It’s an experiment of having a local TV [station] inside Syria, because previously we had only the government’s national TV,” said Aleppo Today’s manager, Khaleel Agha.
The station lets viewers know where fighting has broken out, where snipers are located, which roads are safe and what the constantly fluctuating currency exchange rates are. It also keeps viewers up to date on which border crossings with Turkey are open, and whether they are open to foot traffic only, or also to cars.
One public service announcement recently warned residents to keep their important documents at home, in a convenient place, so they can grab them and flee at a moment’s notice.
Rest of story.
Kudos to Al Jazeera America for running this “slice of life” story from Syria. Expect to see a similar story on NPR in a couple of weeks and then in the rest of the US media in a month or so.
Unfortunately too many Americans say Al-Jazeera is a shill for terrorists. That shows how little these people understand Al-Jazeera.
To demonstrate that Al-Jazeera is not as bad as what too many Americans think, the government of Yemen is blocking Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya broadcasts into their country.
And the reason for the blockage:
- Officially, both news organizations failed to get “permission” to broadcast (their satellite signals) into Yemen.
The real reasons:
- Both news services aired reports of clashes between police and protesters in the southern town of Daleh as well as disturbances and demonstrations in the north.
Read the CPJ report: Yemen blocks live reports by Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiya