KPC raises questions over conduct of Press Council of India

Srinagar, March 17 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, a team of Kashmir Press Club has met a three-member delegation of the Press Council of India (PCI), who is on a four-day visit to Kashmir, and informed them about the hardships faced by the local media fraternity in the territory.

A spokesperson for Kashmir Press Club in a statement issued in Srinagar said that Press Club team members comprising Shuja-ul-Haq, Moazum Mohammad, Ishfaq Tantry and Farooq Javed Khan met the three-member Press Council of India in Srinagar.

Interestingly, the PCI team’s visit is seen by many as a damage-control exercise because its chairman had justified media gag after the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir by the Modi government in India.

“The Kashmir Press Club told the visiting delegation that the period since the August 5 abrogation of Article 370 has been the toughest time for the Kashmir media, during which journalists faced harassment, summons, intimidation and censorship,” he said.

Pointing to the communications blackout, the KPC team told the PCI delegation that since August 5, 2019, Kashmir witnessed the longest internet curfew in the modern history, which severely hampered the working of the press in the territory and termed the harsh measures as a press gag.

The KPC members also raised questions over the conduct of the Press Council of India (PCI) and pointed out that the PCI during this time has failed to show solidarity with the Kashmiri journalists when they were facing existential threats and the most troubling times. “The Club also pointed out the unethical stand taken by the PCI chairman wherein he had justified the restrictions imposed by the government post abrogation of Article 370,” the spokesperson said.

“The communications shutdown and the largest internet shutdown ever deeply impacted the journalist from Kashmir, and was in a way a deep question mark over the freedom of the press in the region,” the statement added.

The Press Club pointed out that journalists in Kashmir were deliberately targeted after August 5, 2019, aiming at complete obliteration of the free press in Kashmir.

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