Closure of Kashmir newspaper a setback to free speech: IA

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Srinagar: Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir must revoke an order to stop the printing and publication of Kashmir Reader, a Srinagar-based English daily, Amnesty International India said Tuesday.

The order, passed by the District Magistrate of Srinagar and served to the publication on 2 October, states that the newspaper “contains such material and content which tends to incite acts of violence and disturb public peace and tranquillity”.

“The District Magistrate’s order does not specifically mention any news items in Kashmir Reader that incited violence,” said Aakar Patel, Executive Director, Amnesty International India in a statement. “This vaguely-worded shutdown order suggests that the newspaper is being targeted for its reporting,” he added.

He said that the media plays a crucial role in reporting human rights abuses. The government has a duty to respect the freedom of the press, and the right of people to receive information. It cannot shut down a newspaper simply for being critical of the government.

Under international human rights law, any restrictions on the right to freedom of expression on the ground of public order must be demonstrably necessary and proportionate, AI statement said.

In July, the state government shut down the publication of local newspapers in Kashmir for three days on vague grounds. (CNS)

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