NEW DELHI: A two-member private team that visited Jammu and Kashmir to assess the impact of the communication crackdown on the media in the Valley has said that the continuing shutdown of communication has resulted in throttling of independent media.
Severe restrictions on movement and communication were imposed by the government in J&K following abrogation of Article 370 and most of them are still in place.
The team comprised Laxmi Murthy of Network of Women in Media and Geeta Seshu and Free Speech Collective, respectively, who spent five days in Kashmir between August 30 and September 3.
The team has asked the government to immediately lift the internet shutdown, restore all landlines and mobile servises with priority to journalists and media houses. In a statement, the two said they made their assessment after speaking to more than 70 journalists, correspondents and editors in Srinagar and south Kashmir, members of the local administration and citizens.
“Our examination revealed a grim and despairing picture of the media in Kashmir, fighting for survival against the most incredible of odds, as it works in the shadow of security forces in one of the most highly militarised zones of the world and a myriad government controls,” their statement read.
The team released a report titled, ‘News behind the barbed wire’, which said there is a high degree of surveillance, informal ‘investigations’ and even arrests of journalists who published reports considered adverse to the government or security forces.