The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in last week of February 2017 banned British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) from filming in all Indian tiger reserves for five years. It also imposed a ban on BBC’s journalist Justin Rowlatt for the same period.
As per a report published in a national daily, the ban was imposed on the network after BBC via a documentary, One World: Killing for Conservation, questioned India’s aggressive policy and protection measures to protect endangered rhinos at Kaziranga national park in Assam.
Issuing the ban on the network, NTCA directed all chief wildlife wardens of all tiger range states of India as well as field directors of tiger reserves to disallow filming permission to BBC for five years. NTCA that governs all tiger reserves of India.
The documentary shot by Justin Rowlatt came into criticism from the union environment ministry for being wrong. Through the documentary, Rowlatt claimed that forest guards in Kaziranga were given powers to shoot and kill anyone they think was a threat to rhinos. Through the documentary, the maker of the documentary said, this shoot-at-sight policy led to the killing of some 23 people by forest guards.
The documentary was aired on 11 February 2017. Later on 14 February 2017, the NTCA issued a notice to BBC against airing the programme without any approval. It also threatened the network to cancel all future permits to BBC, if it fails to remove the documentary from different online portals with immediate effect.
NTCA via a memorandum issued on 27 February 2017 said BBC had failed to submit the documentary to Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and Ministry of External Affairs for mandatory previewing. It would have helped the ministries to remove the deviations and achieve a balanced and accurate exposition of the theme.
Kaziranga National Park
Kaziranga National Park is a national park in the Golaghat and Nagaon districts of Assam. The sanctuary, a World Heritage Site, is a house of two-thirds of the world's great one-horned rhinoceroses. At present, the national park is a house of around 2400 one-horned rhinos.
Besides, Kaziranga is also a home to the highest density of tigers among protecting areas in the world. It was declared as a Tiger Reserve in 2006. It also houses several species like elephants, swamp deer and wild water buffalo among others. The park was established in 1905 as a reserve forest.