SRINAGAR – Kashmir Press Club (KPC) is aghast over the continuous internet blockade to media organizations and journalists in Kashmir for last 177 days.
During a meeting on Tuesday, the KPC management while discussing the government’s decision of not restoring internet to media organizations and journalists described it is a deliberate attempt to stifle press in the region.
Pointing out January 10 Supreme Court’s verdict defining access to internet as a constitutionally guaranteed right, they said that there appears no headway from the government to ensure this right is available to media fraternity in the Valley. This becomes evident as the government has singled out media organizations and journalists by not restoring their internet. In fact, there is no direction to Internet Service Providers about restoring internet to media houses and journalists.
It also came to fore that Internet Service Providers are seeking a written undertaking in which subscribers are asked to provide complete access to all content and infrastructure as and when required by security agencies. This is a serious breach of individual rights and right to privacy.
In its recent decision about restoration of internet, the authorities have also not taken into consideration net neutrality and whitelisted only 301 websites. Majority of local news websites, national and international news websites are not among the whitelisted websites. It is quite strange to understand the process or yardstick adopted for whitelisting the websites.
We once again remind the government about its duties to ensure freedom of press as well as right to access internet which the Supreme Court declared as an integral part of Article 19 (10) (A).