Media Release: India
August 12 2013
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and
partners in the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) urge the
authorities in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, to reconsider their
decision to block local news broadcasts over cable TV in Darjeeling and its
adjoining districts, after protests erupted over demands that the region be
designated as a separate state within the Indian union.
According to IFJ partners, protests in Darjeeling and
its adjoining districts, which are currently designated as an autonomous region
within West Bengal state, began early in August after a decision by the Indian
government to grant full statehood to a region within the southern state of
On August 9, in an ostensible bid to deny the
demonstrations any propaganda or publicity, the West Bengal state government
ordered three local channels to stop their news broadcasts.
The IFJ and SAMSN reiterate their long standing belief
that this manner of news blockade serves little purpose in calming political
turbulence, since it only fuels rumour and various other forms of information
transmission that could have more adverse consequences.
The IFJ urges the West Bengal state government to lift
the ban on local news broadcasts, allow all voices to be heard and deal with
ongoing demonstrations in a spirit of democratic openness.
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