Journalists in Kashmir Stage a Silent Protest
Although the protest itself was silent, their demands were voiced loud and clear, with placards saying, "End information clampdown”; "Stop criminalising journalists”; and “Journalism is not a crime”.
Journalists staged a silent protest in Kashmir today, calling attention to the media gag and black out imposed by the Indian government. On the 60th day of the shut down of the state, these journalists have said that the imposition of emergency laws and the Public Safety Act have effectively made it impossible for them to carry out their work.
Calling it a two month blackout, over 100 journalists working in international, national and local media outlets participated in the protest gathering, which occurred at the Kashmir Press Club in Srinagar. They have demanded that the government lifts the communication blockade placed on them since the abrogation of Article 370.
Brutal restrictions & crubs have been placed on local media & press in Kashmir. Today Journalists fraternity holds a protest against the same at press club Srinagar. #PressFreedom— Shah Imtizaj (@imtizaj_shah) October 3, 2019
@washingtonpost @RahibaParveen @PoojaShali @theJagmeetSingh @NitashaKaul @ravishndtv @alim_jafri pic.twitter.com/9AKI1zVLOJ
The protest itself was silent, however, their demands were voiced loud and clear, with placards saying, "End information clampdown”; "Stop criminalising journalists”; and “Journalism is not a crime”.
These protestors could not march or take to the streets outside the Press Club, as street protests are severely restricted in Kashmir.
Although the government has claimed that most restrictions have been relaxed, mobile and internet communications in the Valley are largely still blocked, severely impacting the ability of journalists to report from the region.
The Indian government has provided an internet connection at a media centre set up for journalists, but reporters say this is insufficient and it lacks privacy.
"There's no privacy. Some 300 journalists use that facility daily and it is crowded. It is also being monitored and we are under surveillance," said Ishfaq Tantray, general secretary of the Kashmir Press Club told Reuters.
A joint press statement released by a number of journalist associations and the Kashmir Press Club has stated, “By limiting the access and continuing with the communications gag, the government aims to reduce to the journalists as its mouthpieces”.
#Kashmir Press Club along with 10 journalist bodies today protested the communication blockade enforced in Kashmir since August 5 that has affected work of media professionals . The protest comes ahead of the 60th day of the clampdown pic.twitter.com/KSyHvrya5L— Azaan Javaid (@AzaanJavaid) October 3, 2019