Cable TV Broadcasts Blocked as Protests Engulf Darjeeling in West Bengal State


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

Andhra Pradesh.


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.



For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0950


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