Govt of India orders Wikipedia to remove an image showing wrong map of Jammu and Kashmir

Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology of Government of India has issued an order directing Wikipedia to remove a link from their website that has shown the wrong map of Jammu and Kashmir. According to govt sources, the order was issued under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

This matter was flagged by a Twitter user through a tweet asking government to take action against Wikipedia for displaying a wrong map of India.

The Twitter user Chhatrasal Singh had highlighted that the Wikipedia page on India Bhutan relationship contained that the map that incorrectly depicted the map of Jammu Kashmir. The map showed Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan occupied Kashmir and Aksai Sin as not being part of India.

Records of Wikimedia Commons, the site that hosts all media files used on all Wikimedia group sites, show that the image was created and uploaded by a Wikipedia user with the username Mangostar. The image was originally uploaded in May 2008, more than a decade ago.

The image ordered to be deleted (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Wikimedia page for the image shows that the same image is also used on several other Wikipedia articles in various languages. The image was created using a template image for countries of Asia, which also contains India’s map without the above-mentioned regions. The user had merely colored the maps of India and Bhutan on this map to use it for the page on Indo-Bhutan relations.

Taking cognizance of the tweet posted on November 25, the Minister of Electronics and Information technology swiftly issued an order on 27th November, 2020 directing Wikipedia to remove this page as this is violation of territorial integrity and sovereignty of India.

It worth mentioning that if Wikipedia does not follow this direction of the Government, then the Government can take serious legal action against Wikipedia including blocking access to the entire platforms as per section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000. So far, Wikipedia has not corrected the map.

It is notable that content in Wikipedia is user-generated, and the company does not create or edit content directly. It is to be seen how Wikipedia responds to the notice.

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