<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an unprecedented step, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has banned the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and its South Asia Correspondent Justin Rowlatt from filming across any tiger reserves of India for “breach of trust” during the shoot of its controversial documentary on Kaziranga tiger reserve. It has also advised the external affairs ministry to revoke visa issued to Rowlatt and his crew, besides “taking appropriate action to prevent their further entry into India, for a period of not less than five years.”DNA has reviewed a copy of NTCA’s order banning BBC.In addition to the ban on filming in any tiger reserve, NTCA has recommended environment ministry’s wildlife wing to disallow BBC from filming in any protected areas of the country for five years.
ALSO READ On the ethics of ‘shoot at sight’ at KazirangaThe action against BBC and its correspondent comes two weeks after NTCA served them show-cause notice for allegedly portraying Kaziranga’s policy of shooting poachers in an extremely negative light. BBC’s story and documentary titled, “Kaziranga: The park that shoot people to protect rhinos” had kicked up a major stir in the conservation field and among the authorities for its questioning of the park’s policy to kill suspected poachers.NTCA’s notice on February 13 had said that BBC provided a false synopsis on its filming plan with “surreptitious malintent of obtaining permission from relevant authorities.” “The producer has used spasmodic events as an umbrella to judge a gamut of conservation efforts that go into safeguarding our wildlife heritage, with scant understanding of the laws in place. The immunity provided to forest officials under section 197, of the Criminal Procedure Code has been construed as a “Shoot to Kill” Policy.
ALSO READ Grossly errorenous reporting: Enivornment Ministry on BBC’s docu on Kaziranga reserve’s ‘shoot-to-kill’ policyIn his defence, Rowlatt told NTCA on February 14 that there was no attempt to deceive anyone during the filming and that BBC did not refer to the park’s conservation strategy as “shoot to kill” at any time. He added, that as a professional journalist, he was obliged to find out more about the circumstances of the deaths (killing of suspected poachers). “It quickly became clear that Kaziranga’s policing of poaching is a matter of intense debate both in the communities around the park and within the conservation movement more generally,” said Rowlatt. Rowlatt also said that despite desiring to reflect the official position on use of armed forces in Kaziranga, union environment minister Anil Dave, Assam environment minister Pramila Rani Brahma, NTCA head BS Bonal and Assam’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Bikash Brahma did not respond to interview requests. DNA has reviewed a copy of Rowlatt’s response.DNA could not reach Rowlatt for an immediate response as he is travelling.