Office Sealing Part of Abnormality Being Enforced on Kashmir Media: KEG

Office Sealing Part of Abnormality Being Enforced on Kashmir Media: KEG

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an independent watchdog body, condemned on Wednesday the authorities in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) for closing the Srinagar office of The Kashmir Times, a leading English daily and one of the oldest newspapers in the disputed state.

Rejecting the Estates Department's version, Ms Bhasin said that the officials had "simply locked their office" without any prior notice.

She noted that the media in Kashmir have been going through hard times, "with lots of obstacles and the government, which has been trying to impose complete silence or complete censorship on the media".

The office had been that was allotted to Kashmir Times in a government building at at Press Enclave in Srinagar.

They, however, gave no reasons for the government action.

Bhasin was the only member of the Kashmir media fraternity to challenge before the Indian Supreme Court the legality of the post-August 2019 communication blackout, after which the placement of government advertisements in the paper ceased, depriving it of a critical source of revenue.

The Guild has called on the administration to unseal the premises from which Kashmir Times and KNS offices were operating from 'till the due process of law comes out with a solution.

The official said that the premises had been allotted to the late Ved Bhasin, founder of the Kashmir Times, and was sealed as the journalist had died in 2015.

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In a statement the spokesperson of the guild said, "The Guild believes that the government should have followed the due process of law. Shutting down her office in Srinagar is straight out of BJPs vendetta playbook to settle scores with those who dare to disagree", Mehbooba tweeted.

"It notes that freedom of speech and expression is a fundamental right in the Constitution, but that, ironically, a clampdown on the media is far more visible since August 5 when the Constitution of the country began to apply to J&K as well", said the statement.

Kashmiri leader Omar Abdullah, in a tweet, said that the development "explains why some of our "esteemed" publications have made a decision to become government mouthpieces, printing only government press handouts". Bhasin had been instrumental in taking a petition on the curbs under which Kashmiri journalists had been working since the reading down of Article 370, to the Supreme Court. "The price of independent reportage is to be evicted without due process", NC vice president and ex-Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted.

"I see it as a willful attempt by the government to silence voices who speak out based on facts", Bhasin told Anadolu Agency.

In a Tuesday statement, the Network of Women Journalist of India (NWMI) also condemned the government "muzzling" the free press in the Jammu and Kashmir region.

On the other hand, several noted Kashmiri journalists have come forward to do their bit for The Kashmir Times. Anuradha is a daughter of Ved Bhasin - the founding editor of Kashmir Times.

Reporters without Borders (RSF) termed the act an attack on press freedom.

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