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APFEJ urges New Delhi to be respectful to media

Correspondent

Guwahati, March 19, 2017: Asia-Pacific Forum Environmental Journalists (APFEJ), in the backdrop of Indian government’s recent initiative to ban a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) scribe on filming in its tiger reserves, has urged New Delhi to be considerate to the global media outlets respecting the democratic spirit of the country. The Dhaka (Bangladesh)-based environment media forum also appealed to the Indian authority not to think of evoking the British scribe’s visa at any cost.

It may be noted that the controversy erupted after the  BBC’s south Asia correspondent Justin Rowlatt prepared a news feature on Assam’s well-known Kaziranga National Park where he claimed that forest guards of the abode of precious one-horned rhinos were indulging in extra judicial killings in the name of conservation.

Rowlatt pointed out that the park, which hosted UK’s Prince William and Katherine  in April 2016, witnessed the killing of almost two people per month under the brutal conservation policy since 2013. The year 2015 witnessed the encounter killings of 23 people in Kaziranga in contrast to 18 rhinos poached by the criminals.

“Innocent villagers, mostly tribal people, have been caught up in the conflict (between the poachers and forest guards) and the problem is mostly because the park rangers are indiscriminate in applying brutal force, and they are given immunity from prosecution,” said the BBC feature.

Rowlatt, who lives with his family  in New Delhi, also clarified that despite his initiative, both the environment ministries in New Delhi and Dispur (responsible for the protection of forest and wildlife), the National Tiger Conservation Authority and Assam forest department did not respond to his necessary queries.