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Over 100 journalists take part in silent protest in Srinagar, ask government to lift communication blockade in Kashmir

Journalists hold placards during a protest against communication blockade in Srinagar, on Thursday.

Journalists hold placards during a protest against communication blockade in Srinagar, on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Kashmir-based journalist organisations and editors' bodies on Thursday held a silent sit-in protest at Srinagar's Kashmir Press Club to register their protest against continued denial to internet services and mobile telephony.

"The peaceful protest was to press for the restoration of internet and mobile services to journalists as the communication blockade entered 60th day on Thursday," said a joint statement of 11 organisations, including scribes' organisations and editors' bodies.

The statement termed the blockade as an attempt to muzzle the Press in the valley. “Limiting the access of media to a government-run hall at a private hotel, designated as Media Facilitation Centre, is to prevent the information out of the Valley," it read.

The media centre has just nine computers and a cell phone connection for over 400 journalists. "We have to queue up every day and spend hours together to file our reports. The wi-fi service is barred. Despite all journalists entering their names, no laptop is allowed to connect with the internet service independently. It is humiliating," said Kashmir Working Journalist Association member Ishfaq Tantray.

No Valley-based dailies, including the prominent 'Greater Kashmir', or web portals, including the widely-read 'Kashmir Life', have updated their websites since August 5 due to inaccessibility to the internet service. "There are no internet editions or updates on the web-portals in Kashmir," said statement added.

The Kashmir Press Club (KPC) has held several rounds of talks with the authorities on the issue. "The authorities promised to restore cellphones and internet two weeks ago. However, there is no headway. The government is silent on the timeline as to when the services, which is lifeline of journalism, will be restored," the KPC members said.

The protesting journalists wore black banks and were carrying placards with slogans like: 'Rescue us from the sub-jail called Media Facilitation Centre; and 'End communication blockade'.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 12:27:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/over-100-journalists-take-part-in-silent-protest-in-srinagar-ask-government-to-lift-communication-blockade-in-kashmir/article29585412.ece

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