Internet Restored For Some Media Houses In Kashmir, Suspended Again

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SRINAGAR – Internet service, which was restored by private operators for some media houses in Kashmir valley during the last couple of days, was again suspended following ‘instructions by the authorities’.

The high speed mobile internet of all Cellular companies and broadband remained suspended in Kashmir valley since August 5, when centre scrapped Article 370 and 35 A, besides downgraded and divided the state into two Union Territories (UTs).

“We had taken undertaking from some media houses and restored their internet service. We were also in the process of restoring broadband to other media outlets as well in the coming day,” an employee of one of the operators, who wished anonymity, said.

However, he said that they received a communication from authorities asking them to suspend internet services of the media houses, besides automobile companies in the valley.

Some media houses who had breathed a sigh of relief following restoration of their internet were again left high and dry.

Meanwhile, BSNL has said that the broadband internet service will not be restored in the valley till the time they are able to block social media sites. The state-run telecom operator has sought help from experts from other parts of the valley to block the social media sites.

However, experts said that it will be very difficult to stop complete access to social media as there are hundreds of VPNs available which can be used to bypass the security setting and access the blocked sites.

Only handful news websites have been placed in the category of white listed sites in the valley. Ironically, even the websites of major national newspapers and news agencies have not found their way into the white listed sites.

Restoration of 2G mobile internet service hardly makes any difference as the users are unable to even check their mails as the speed is very low.

Fixed line internet service also remained suspended even after authorities announced resumption of the service on January 25. However, the government had announced that only white listed sites in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir could be accessed from January 25. All social media sites remained suspended, the order read.

The government order had listed 300 white websites, including email service, banking website, education related websites, job platforms, entertainment, tour and travel and weather website. White listing of websites shall be continuous process.

Due to suspension of internet service, journalists working for different media organizations, including News Agencies, were badly hit. However, later administration set up a media facilitation centre at Sonawar in the city.

The centre was later shifted to Directorate Information Office in Srinagar, where journalists are filing their stories to their respective media organizations.

However, despite restoration of 2G internet service, the journalists have to wait for hours, particularly in the evening time, to get their turn since only a limited number of systems are working the centre.

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