Journalists Hold Seminar, Stage Sit-In Against Internet Gag

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Kashmiri journalists protest against 156 days communication blockade in Srinagar, Jan 06, 2020.
KO Photo: Abid Bhat

SRINAGAR – Scores of Valley based journalists on Monday staged a peaceful demonstration here in this capital city against the continued internet blockade that entered sixth month today.

Journalists working with various local, national and international media organizations staged a peaceful sit-in in the compound of Kashmir Press Club here today to register their protest against the continued internet blockade, reports said.

Carrying placards that read “We are journalists, not mouthpieces” “end press gag” “allow journalists to work freely” “restore press freedom”, the journalists were demanding lifting of internet gag by the Jammu and Kashmir union territory administration.

Earlier, a seminar was held at the KPC where journalists highlighted the difficulties they were facing in absence of internet. Those who spoke on the occasion included Syed Ehsan Fazili of Tribune, Riyaz Masroor of BBC, Naseer Ganai of Outlook magazine, Haroon Rashid of Daily Mashriq, Pirzada Ashiq of the Hindu and many others.

The speakers said that the media has been rendered defunct, due to the un-availability of internet and mobile services for a record period of 156 days. They said not only local and national media, but journalists associated with foreign media were also finding themselves handicapped in this situation to file their dispatches.

They said that to curtail the flow of news, all other means were employed, including intimidation and thrashing of journalists and spread of fear among the scribes.

It is for 73rd time since the eruption of unrest in Jammu and Kashmir, that internet has been snapped here. Although broadband connectivity in past was barred from being snapped, but it is for the first time that connectivity has remained under suspension for such a long time, after the  revocation of Article 370 and 35-A of Indian constitution on 5th of August.

In absence of the flow of news from other parts of the state and the communication bar with reporters and sources in other districts outside Srinagar, publishing newspapers has become quite a difficult task. A few papers, which are published from here, mostly depend on news gathering agencies for their publication. (CNS)

 

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