SRINAGAR, Jan 6: A seminar “Cyber Curfew, 156 days and counting” was organised at Kashmir Press Club (KPC) on Monday to denounce continuous internet suspension to media house in Kashmir since August 5 last year.
Journalists representing various local, national and international media houses which include editors, correspondents and photo-journalists spoke on the occasion and impressed upon the authorities to restore internet facility to journalist fraternity at earliest.
Condemning the long drawn-out internet blockade in Kashmir following Centre’s August 5, 2019 decision to repeal special constitutional position of Jammu and Kashmir and its bifurcation into two Union Territories, the participants alleged that the government, by protracting the issue, not only compounds problems of journalists but also hampers smooth publication of newspapers.
They also highlighted the difficulties that English news daily ‘Kashmir Times’ which simultaneously publishes from Jammu and Kashmir faces after August 5 last year.
The participants, while expressing solidarity with management and staff of Kashmir Times, said the way government deals with media seems it is hell-bent upon silencing secular voices whose contribution to the society cannot be ignored.
Journalists impressed upon the authorities to restore internet facility to media houses in Kashmir without any further delay. They said media persons face immense problems in the wake of internet blockade and that the issue needs serious consideration by the government.
Representatives of Kashmir Editor’s Guild (KMG), Kashmir Press Club (KPC) and other bodies representing journalists termed the government’s move to suspend net services to media persons as gross violation of freedom of expression.
They said the journalists have gone through the worst periods of turmoil since the on-set of insurgency. However, the way they perform their duties at the moment is beyond description.
The participants said that depriving media persons from basic facilities like internet jeopardizes fourth pillar of Democracy in Kashmir.
As soon as the seminar culminated, journalists held silent sit-in protest at KPC premises here to press for the restoration of internet service to media house in Kashmir.
Journalists from different media organizations participated in the protest and demanded broadband restoration in all media houses in Kashmir without delay.
Holding placards reading “rescue us from sub-jail, stop communalizing journalism and allow journalists to work freely” dozens of scribes assembled at KPC premises and staged protest to denounce what they termed ‘media gag’.
They said the makeshift media facilitation centre from where they work since past five months is no less than a sub-jail.