IHK journos warn ban on KR may snowball into bigger conflict

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Srinagar—Government should lift ban from Daily English newspaper Kashmir Reader (KR) before the protests snowball into a major conflict between the media and administration, journalists working with different media organization in Kashmir said Saturday. Scores of journalists working with different media outlets Friday gathered at Press Enclave, here to protest against the government ban on daily Kashmir Reader calling it an unwarranted assault on freedom of expression.
The journalists on the fifth consecutive day staged a sit-in protest against the ban imposed on the paper. They demanded revocation of the ban.
Riyaz Masroor who works with British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) said, “Government of Jammu and Kashmir should revoke the ban on daily English newspaper Kashmir Reader before it snowballs into a major issue.”
He said, “Freedom of press is the fourth pillar in a democracy. If any pillar is missing in the democracy it gives rise to emergency situation.”
“Such situation erupted in India when Indira Gandhi imposed emergency in 70s and in Pakistan during the dictatorships when the press was banned. We have democracy with four pillars and among the four pillars media has a great potential and role to play,” he said.
“Kashmir Reader which started its publication some years back had made its mark. Banning it is a proof that it didn’t go well with government and they imposed ban on it,” protesting journalists said.
They added, “If there is something which has strengthened democracy it is only media.” The journalists have been protesting from the last five days, after the publication of the newspaper was banned. They unequivocally urged revocation of the ban. Pertinent to mention here government didn’t say a word about the issue on Friday. They said government has suppressed the voice of the people, and it should revoke the ban on the newspaper immediately.
The state government had on Sunday ordered printing presses to stop printing and publication of Kashmir Reader, “else punitive measures under various sections of different laws can be invoked against them”. The order, issued by District Magistrate Srinagar, says that publication of the newspaper can “easily incite acts of violence and disturb peace and tranquility”.—RK

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