Srinagar, July 10 (KMS): in occupied Kashmir, analysts and journalists, criticizing the Indian government’s recently introduced new media policy, have said that the policy is aimed at completely wiping out journalism and an attempt to control the narrative in the territory

Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal, executive editor of Jammu-based English newspaper, Kashmir Times, said, “It’s an attempt not only to gag and silence the media but also kill the media”. She added that the new regulation was an attempt to criminalize journalists by scrutinizing the content in the media and deciding what news was fake and anti-national.

“The purported aim of such a policy is to eliminate any media house that refuses to toe the government line,” Anuradha Bhasin said while speaking to a foreign media outlet. She said, the government wants to control the media because its own script is failing.

Anuradha Bhasin pointed out, “You cannot script the destiny of the 13 million people of Kashmir without the involvement of a single local person and expect things to follow this script. It would fail. The only way you can show that everything is fine is by chaining and imprisoning the narrative coming out of the region”.

Srinagar-based senior journalist and political analyst Altaf Hussain, in a media interview, said, “The Indian government tried to control the media in the 1990s, when the armed conflict in the valley was at its peak”. “Now, it is trying to control it again. It’s a fascist move. Earlier, they were killing journalists; now, they are trying to kill journalism itself because the Indian government does not want the world to know what the ground situation in the valley is,” he added.

“There is deep concern among journalists,” Kashmir Press Club President Shuja Ul Haq said, adding, “If such a system of scrutinizing comes up, journalists feel they won’t be able to work. The environment won’t remain conducive to free reportage.”

“The media has been definitely working under a lot of stress in the valley,” Haq said. “There have been communication bans and issues related to the blockade of information. The view is that these steps will only add to the limitations, making the job of a journalist increasingly difficult.”

Pertinently, under the so-called Media Policy 2020, occupied Kashmir’s Directorate of Information and Publication Relations (DIPR) officials have the authority to examine media content and assess whether it is fake, unethical or anti-national. “Any individual or group indulging in fake news, unethical or anti-national activities or in plagiarism shall be de-empanelled besides being proceeded against under the law,” says the 53-page policy paper released by the occupied territory’s administration in the last week of June.

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