Journalists continue silent protest against ban on ‘Kashmir Reader’

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Srinagar: As part of its continued silent protest journalists working with local and other media outlets on Friday held a demonstration at the Press Enclave against the ban on daily Kashmir Reader newspaper.

The journalists questioned the state government’s silence and demanded revocation of the ban on the newspaper, which completed 13 days today. Journalist expressed their displeasure by holding placards, banners and posters.

The Srinagar District Magistrate on October 2 had asked the owner of Kashmir Reader not to publish the newspaper citing reasons that its contents ‘tends to incite violence and disturb peace and tranquility.’

The ban on the publication of the English newspaper is first such an extreme step in last three decades. However, subsequent governments in Kashmir have been barring publication of newspapers in Kashmir since 2008.

The last three months also saw government withhold publishing of newspapers for four days after their printing facilities were raided and the copies of the printed editions seized by the police.

However the latest gag on the newspaper also warned the printing facilities in Srinagar to deist from printing the paper.

Even the Editors Guild of India had also asked chief minister Mehbooba Mufti to “reconsider the order to ban the publication” of Kashmir Reader.

The President of Guild Raj Chengappa in a statement had said that Guild has always championed the cause of the freedom of the press and believes that any move to obstruct, infringe or impose a ban on the press is an assault on democracy itself,” requesting Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir to go into the complaint that the ban was ‘arbitrary’ and that ‘no notice was served to him before publication”..

Also the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) too joined the course against the ban on the Kashmir Reader. In a statement on October 07, the Journalist forums said that they were “gravely” concerned over the “infringement” of press freedom.

In the first week of the ban journalists held consecutive protests. First they marched towards directorate of information, then towards Lal Chowk and government secretariat.

International rights watchdog Amnesty International also urged the authorities in Jammu and Kashmir to revoke the ban, saying it is "against the spirit of democracy and freedom of press". (KNS)

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