Editors Guild Anguished At Ban On 'Kashmir Reader'

Srinagar:  Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) Monday staged a protest demonstration against the ban on local English daily ‘Kashmir Reader’ here and demanded immediate revocation of the government order, alleging that newspapers in the Valley are being "choked" by the authorities.

Dozens of journalists under the aegis of the Guild took to streets at Press Enclave in the heart of Srinagar and later staged a sit-in outside the office of Directorate of Information at Polo View to condemn the ban on publication and press for revocation of the government order.

The Guild termed the move as against the "basic spirit of democracy as well as the freedom of press".

"The government order, banning the newspaper, is vague and unclear about the charges for which such a harsh step has been taken," the KEG said in a statement after a meeting here.

The KEG impressed upon the government to revoke the ban order failing which, it said, the Valley-based newspapers would be forced to take "direct action".

It also appealed to the Press Council of India to take note of how the space for the Valley-based newspapers is being "choked" by the authorities.

Authorities yesterday stopped publication of a local English newspaper accusing it of carrying content which tends to "incite violence and disturbs public peace and tranquillity".

The order issued by the Deputy Commissioner Srinagar said, "It has been observed that the contents published in the above newspaper is of such nature that can easily cause incitement of acts of violence and disturbance of public tranquillity in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and Srinagar district in particular."

The protesting scribes were carrying placards some of which read "Don’t Stifle Free Voice; Withdraw Ban Order; Return of Dark Age; Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance; Is Kashmir under Martial law? and Journalism is no threat to society."

The journalists initially staged the demonstration at Press Enclave and later marched through Residency road to the office of the Directorate of Information to express their resentment against the order.

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