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Cable TV Broadcasts Blocked as Protests Engulf Darjeeling

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

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.

ENDS

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