New Delhi: The Editors Guild of India on Thursday criticised the Jammu and Kashmir administration’s decision to abruptly seal the offices of regional daily the Kashmir Times. The Editors Guild said the action was reprehensible, and that it would have “disturbing implications” for the media of the two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
In a strongly worded statement the Editors Guild also said that local media organisations in J&K were already going through tough times because of constant communication shutdowns, lack of advertising revenue and government imposed lockdowns and said that the government should assist the organisations instead of making things worse for them.
The Guild also urged the government to create a circumstance where media organisations can function without hinderance or fear in J&K. “The Editors Guild of India considers the action of state administration vindictive and injurious not just to the Kashmir Times, but also to the entire free media in the Union Territory. The Guild calls upon the government of Jammu and Kashmir to restore status quo, and to create circumstances in which media can function without hindrance and without fear,” the statement read.
PCI Dismayed Over Attacks On Media In J&K
Earlier the Press Club of India on Thursday said that it is dismayed to note that the UT administration of Jammu and Kashmir has continued with what it called “calculated and sustained attacks on the media in the UT.
“The latest instance of wielding the rod against independent sections of the media has come in the shape of the administration sealing the office of the prestigious daily Kashmir Times’ Srinagar Bureau, in the Press Enclave in J&K’s summer capital,” PCI said in a statement.
The statement reads that this reeks of pettiness and vindictiveness. “Not long ago, the administration first “raided” and then seized the residence of Anuradha Bhasin, the executive editor of the newspaper, along with all belongings. Kashmir Times and Bhasin personally have attracted the ire of the authorities because she showed the gumption to challenge in the Supreme Court the circumstances- in particular closure of the internet and curfews, both of which made journalism impossible- that flowed from the deeply troubling decision taken by the Government of India on August 5 last year,” the statement said.
It added the actions of the militaristic regime in both instances are dictatorial, unconstitutional, without due process. “These give the impression to a neutral observer that the very idea of the rule of law has fled JK since 5 August, 2019, when the constitutional autonomy was taken away-again without due process,” the statement alleged.
“The actions of the regime have made India a laughing stock among democratic nations and an object of mockery in dictatorial dispensations, including in our neighborhood. This is to be deeply regretted. We demand that the authorities end their show of small- mindedness immediately, and restore the earlier status of the Srinagar office of Kashmir Times”, the hard hitting statement said.
The Press Club of India also demanded that the government directives in the functioning of the media in J&K since it was reduced in status and made a UT, be withdrawn. “This will be in the interest of the government’s credibility”, it said.
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