Occupied Kashmir is one of the most dangerous places of the world where newspersons associated with the press and media are carrying out their professional duties in the most difficult situation.
According to the data released by Kashmir Media Service, on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day, today, 10 journalists have been confirmed as being killed while performing their duties during the Kashmiris’ ongoing liberation struggle since 1989. They included Shabbir Ahmad Dar, Mushtaq Ali, Ghulam Muhammad Lone, Ghulam Rasool Azad, Muhammad Shaban Wakeel, Pervez Muhammad Sultan, Mushtaq Ahmad and a woman scribe, Aasia Jeelani.
The report said that in the occupied territory, almost routinely, the journalists face manhandling, abductions, murder attempts and death threats by Indian troops and all this has made their everyday work extremely difficult. It revealed that the Kashmiri journalists and many other scribes while performing their professional duties were roughed up, injured and detained by the troops on fake charges in the territory.
Recently, Indian police beat up and injured a photojournalist, Kamran Yousuf, during demonstrations in Pulwama on March 4, 2017. The police physically assaulted reporters and photojournalists including Tauseef Mustafa, Mubashir Khan, Farooq Javed Khan, Umar Sheikh and Shoaib Masoodi at the Hyderpora residence-cum-office of the All Parties Hurriyet Conference Chairman, Syed Ali Gilani. The journalists had visited the area to cover a press briefing of Hurriyet leaders on March 16.
On the other hand, mobile internet and social networking websites are already blocked for a month in the Kashmir Valley. The order directed all Internet service providers to block users’ access to 22 platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and YouTube. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an independent watchdog body, has asked India to immediately revoke the one-month ban on access to Internet services in occupied Kashmir.
It is worth mentioning here that during the mass uprising triggered by the extrajudicial killing of popular youth leader, Burhan Wani, by Indian troops on July 8, last year, the Kashmir Valley witnessed the most sweeping information blackout. Indian authorities banned newspaper publication in the occupied territory for days and police raided media houses and shut down printing press of Srinagar-based Rising Kashmir. The authorities had imposed a ban on the publication of English Daily Kashmir Reader. Indian police arrested three employees of another newspaper Greater Kashmir, took away the printed copies, plates and even the newsprint in the third week of July, last year. Hawkers said that police did not allow them to distribute the newspapers and seized their copies. Mobile and internet services and Cable TV channels were blocked for days.—KMS