India takes al-Jazeera off-air in Kashmir map row

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Al--Jazeera studio in New YorkImage source, AFP
Image caption,
Al-Jazeera has been expanding its reach, with bureaux in Asia and the US - pictured here

India has taken al-Jazeera off air for five days, claiming that it had shown wrong maps of Kashmir.

The news channel showed a blue screen on Wednesday with a sign saying it would not be available until Monday.

India says maps used by the channel are incorrect, as they show the region of Kashmir as divided between Pakistan, India and China.

Kashmir is claimed by both India and Pakistan in its entirety but has effectively been divided since 1948.

Failure to agree on the status of the territory by diplomatic means has brought India and Pakistan to war on a number of occasions, and ignited an insurgency in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Maps approved by the Indian government still show the entirety of the former princely state as lying within Indian control - while other maps seek to show the de facto border between areas administered by India and Pakistan.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Thousands of Indian and Pakistani troops face off against each other in the Kashmir dispute
Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Viewers of al-Jazeera in India were shown a message informing them of the government order

On Wednesday, al-Jazeera programmes in India were replaced by a sign saying the channel would not be available until 27 April, "as instructed by the ministry of information and broadcasting".

The channel's bureau chief in India, Anmol Saxena, was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying that the channel has "made representations to the ministry" and was hopeful of having the order revoked.

Indian officials reportedly issued the order for al-Jazeera to be taken off-air earlier this month, accusing the Qatar-based broadcaster of "cartographic aggression".

The country's authorities routinely criticise the international media, saying they have failed to reflect India's claims regarding Kashmir's borders.

In 2011, the Economist magazine was forced by the country's authorities to cover up a map to illustrate a cover story about the border between India and Pakistan.

The magazine responded by accusing India of censorship.