BBC banned from filming in 50 Indian Tiger reserves for 5 years over Kaziranga documentry
Indian Ministry of Environment is furious and agitated over a BBC Documentary titled “One World: Killing for Conservation”. The BBC has been banned from filming in any of India’s Tigers Reserves for next five years. The documentary had highlighted aggressive policy of India for conservation of rhinos in the Kaziranga National Park in Assam. The guards have shoot-at-sight orders in case they sense a person’s presence as threat to wildlife. In one year, poachers killed 17 rhinos while the forest guards killed 23 men.
At one stage the park rangers were killing an average of two people every month – more than 20 people a year. Indeed, in 2015 more people were shot dead by park guards than rhinos were killed by poachers. Innocent villagers, mostly tribal people, have been caught up in the conflict,
Indian Ministry is facing sharp criticism globally and was questioned over ethical aspect of such strategy. However, the Indian ministry termed the documentary as grossly erroneous that presented efforts of wildlife conservation in negative light. The ministry also called it a breach of trust and claimed that Justin Rowlatt, BBC south Asia correspondent, was given permission to shoot in the reserve on condition that a copy of the documentary to the ministry for preview before telecast but he didn’t. The NTCA alleged BBC of not working constructively.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has already banned the BCC from filming in any of the protected Tiger reserves in India for next five years. NTCA has requested the ministry to not renew Rowlatt’s visa. As a matter of fact, recently, shoot-at-sight orders were passed for the Jim Corbet too.
On the other hand, BBC rubbished the claims of the Indian ministry regarding preview of the documentary prior to broadcast. Rowlatt maintained that the authorities didn’t ask him for the preview and, if it had done so, he would have obeyed it.
It is noticeable that poaching is a reality in India and they are mostly well-equipped with firearms. Rhinos and Tigers are their main target as it involves insane amount of money. However, the reaction of government still leaves some relevant questions unanswered.