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  HOME PAGE 22/08/2019 22:16 
10.08.2019 21:35 News >> Kashmir Lockdown 'Draconian' Says Editors Guild

Kashmir Lockdown 'Draconian' Says Editors Guild

The Guild urges Indian government to take immediate steps to restore normalcy for the media’s communication links.

By Shuriah NiaziNEW DELHI (AA) - The Editors Guild of India, a non-partisan association of editorial leaders, on Saturday expressed deep concern over the continued shutdown in communication links with the Kashmir Valley and the consequent curtailment of the media's freedom and ability to report fairly and accurately on current developments.In a statement the Editors Guild said, "While some visiting journalists may be able to file their reports once they are out of the Valley, the lockdown is almost total and draconian for the vibrant local media that are the first eyes and ears on the ground.""The Government knows very well that it is impossible to process and publish news now without the internet. It owes it to the people of India, including all in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, to allow the press, a vital institution of democracy, to function freely," said the statement.The Editors Guild, which was founded with the twin objectives of protecting press freedom and for raising the standards of editorial leadership of newspapers and magazines said in a situation such as that prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir at present, the role of free media, unhindered by such restrictions, becomes critically important in helping dissemination of news and in its democratic duty of keeping a watch on institutions of government and security.The Guild urged the government to take immediate steps to restore normalcy for the media's communication links. Media transparency has and always should be India's strength, not fear, it added.Meanwhile, a petition was filed on Saturday by the executive editor of Kashmir Times in the Supreme Court and sought directions to ensure that the state created an enabling environment for journalists and other media personnel in all parts of Jammu and Kashmir.In the petition she said, "The debilitating restrictions imposed through the complete shutdown on internet and telecommunication services, and severe curbs on the movement of photo journalists and reporters be immediately relaxed in order to ensure the freedom of the press and media."Tensions between Islamabad and New Delhi, the two longtime rivals have further escalated following India's move to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir -- which allowed Kashmiri citizens to enact their own laws and prevented outsiders to settle and own land in the territory. Kashmiri leaders and citizens fear this step is an attempt by the Indian government to change demography of the Muslim-majority state, where some groups have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.The Himalayan region is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full.Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- two of them over Kashmir.According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989. -



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