Thrissur (Kerala), India, December 11 (KMS): Noted Kashmiri journalist, writer and the executive editor of Kashmir Times, Anuradha Bhasin, has said that as all means of communications have been restricted, the media in occupied Kashmir are struggling for survival like a patient on ventilator.

Anuradha Bhasin said this while addressing a seminar on ‘Media Freedom for Kashmir’ organised at Thrissur in Indian state of Kerala by the Kerala Media Academy in association with the Kerala Union of working Journalists (KUWJ).

“Media persons in Kashmir have to negotiate with silence as communications systems including the Internet and cellphones have been restricted. There are restrictions for travelling too,” she said.

Anuradha Bhasin said, the only system for communication is a facilitation centre run by authorities with six or seven computers with very slow Internet connectivity. Around 100 journalists have to use them under strict monitoring by the authorities, she added.

“Though there is no official ban on media, many journalists in Kashmir are under house arrest. Newspapers are coming up without editorials. Many of them have stopped printing. Some are publishing as pamphlets. Media persons are going for daily wage work for survival. Media in Kashmir are helplessly surrendering to the authoritarian regime,” Bhasin maintained.

She said, Indian democracy is in Emergency. She said, three pillars of democracy have been weakened. “And the fourth pillar, the media, has been tamed and controlled. Democracy has been replaced by authoritarian government. They are intolerant to criticism,” she pointed out.

Anuradha Bhasin stated that media persons have been subjected to various kinds of harassment in India and occupied Kashmir like threatening, physical attack, criminal cases and expulsion. India has dropped to 140th position in the list of freedom of press, she noted.

Earlier, inaugurating the seminar, Kerala’s Minister for Agriculture V.S, Sunil Kumar, alleged that the Indian mainstream media have been keeping criminal silence while the freedom of media is under threat.

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