IFJ launches campaign to end ban on 4g internet in IOK

Srinagar, April 07 (KMS): The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) along with South Asia Media Solidarity Network has launched a campaign to bring to light the severe impact on journalists of the ban on high-speed internet in occupied Kashmir and has urged the government of India to lift the restrictions.

IFJ and SAMSN in a joint statement said the world needs to know the severe impact on the lives of civilians and journalists as a result of this shutdown and a collective action is needed to end this violation of human rights and journalist rights immediately.

The campaign, “POSTCARDS FROM KASHMIR”, started from April 4. It highlights the “critical need for high-speed communications during the COVID-19 pandemic” even as journalists the world over are switching to online mode in a bid to break the transmission chain of the deadly disease.

The campaign carries stories of journalists from occupied Kashmir reflecting how journalists bore the brunt of the communication shutdown imposed by Modi government ahead of abrogation of special status of occupied Kashmir on August 05, 2019.

The internet shutdown in occupied Kashmir for more than six months by the government of India was the longest ever in a democracy. While some communications have been gradually restored, the gag on high speed 4G internet in the occupied territory remains in force. On April 3, this ban was again extended to April 15.

“Even before some communications were restored, the blackout was already the world’s longest communication shutdown in a democracy. India continues to lead the world in the number of shutdowns enforced on its people. From April 4-7, this campaign will shed light on the world’s longest and most severe communications shutdown on media and citizens,” the IFJ and SAMSN said in their statement.

The IFJ-AMSN campaign has asked the government of India to “cease the communication controls that are continuing to limit the capabilities of journalists reporting in Kashmir, specifically the blocking of 4G mobile internet”.

The IFJ said the campaign “will draw the world’s attention to the personal stories of journalists impacted by shutdowns and raise awareness on internet controls as an abuse of human rights”. “The IFJ urges the Indian government immediately restore all communications to the Kashmir Valley and ensure that all access is open and without restriction,” said the IFJ.

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