No newspapers in Kashmir till govt apologises?

No newspapers in Kashmir till govt apologises?

Cobrapost |
July 20, 2016

No newspapers in Kashmir till govt apologises?

In an already agitated Kashmir a statement from political advisor chief Amitabh Mattoo left the whole media fraternity of the valley disgusted, reported Mozum Mohammad in The Hoot.

“There was no ban on newspapers, there was some miscommunication. Papers can publish. In the age of globalisation, there is no question of imposing a ban. The Chief Minister herself believes in freedom of expression, even if it is against the establishment,” told Mattoo to NDTV.

The motive behind such a statement was clearly aimed as an attempt to control the damage done by ban. Yet the damage was unlikely to be contained as international press has amply highlighted it.

It was learnt that Mehbooba was quite aware of the developments on media ban. But she  received a call from New Delhi as the media gag brought lot of “negative” coverage and focus on Kashmir.

This decision was part of other decisions such as disabling mobile telephony and Internet services for imposing complete information blockade and she was in loop, he said.

A senior editor of Kashmir’s largest circulated daily Greater Kashmir Zahir-ud-din insisted that media fraternity “understands” such contradictory statements from the government.

Mattoo who termed the ban as “miscommunication”, tried to convince the newspapers owners and editors who gathered on Tuesday to discuss the press emergency in Srinagar. But they did not relent demanding that the government own the ban and tender an official apology for their media clampdown.

Many journalists such as Ahmed Ali Fayyaz while questioning his transfer wrote on Facebook that “If the decision of media gag, that has conversely internationalised the Kashmir issue and projected India as a failing democracy and washed away all of this country’s diplomatic achievements of the last 26 years, had been taken at the highest level and enforced through Police, why was Budgam SP Fayaz Ahmad Lone culled out as scapegoat?”

Another journalist while explaining the issue pointed out that police officers seized newspaper copies at many other places in Srinagar but no action followed them.

Editor Masood Hussain of the weekly Kashmir Life, who read out a statement after the meeting was over,  said the government should own the ban and guarantee that media operations are not hampered from the movement of staff, to newsgathering, printing and the distribution of the newspapers.

The Kashmir Reader editor-in-chief Hayat Bhat said everyone in the meeting wanted the government to officially apologise for the ban. “Mattoo verbally apologised but we want the government to come up with an official statement,” said Bhat.

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