The curbs slapped on the media in Jammu and Kashmir have come in for strong criticism from the South Asia Media Commission.

“The restrictions of the type announced yesterday [Wednesday] will only prove counter-productive,” said a statement issued by K.K. Katyal, chairman of the India chapter. “As we know from our experience of the Emergency period, it will not serve any useful purpose either in the immediate or long-term context.”

Mr. Katyal pointed out that, “Right now, the gap in the free media functioning may be filled by vested interests through rumour-mongering.” He warned: “Later those perceived to be responsible for the decision will be politically damaged.”

He expressed distress over reports of attacks on mediapersons, and called on the authorities in Srinagar to ensure that the normal functioning of journalists of the print and electronic media was restored with immediate effect.

The Media Commission is an initiative of the South Asian Free Media Association, SAFMA, set up to highlight restrictions on the media and other instances of high-handedness.

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