Srinagar, February 17: Press Council of India (PCI) has termed the recent restrictions on publication of newspapers and blockade of news channels in occupied Kashmir after the hanging of Muhammad Afzal Guru as unjustified and undemocratic.
PCI member and Executive member of Indian Journalists Union, K Amarnath, talking to a Srinagar-based English newspaper, “There has to be a conference or a debate on the freedom of press in Kashmir. We are ready to host the conference.”
Talking to the newspaper over phone from New Delhi, the PCI Chairman, Markandey Katju, said that they were well aware about the situation that shaped up in the occupied Valley after Afzal’s hanging. He said that the puppet Chief Minister told him through an email that some local newspapers and a few local Urdu dailies did publish their copies but circulation of the papers by the hawkers was not possible as there were severe restrictions on any kind of movement across the Valley.
Senior journalist, Yousuf Jameel, said that the authorities created circumstances that journalists could not move while Internet services were blocked. “This is not for the first time; we have seen curbs on media in the past as well,” he added.
Seconding Jameel, spokesman of Kashmir Journalists Corps, Asif Qureshi, said the situation was created in a way that free flow of information was blocked.
The valley newspapers could not hit the stands for three days due to restrictions imposed by the puppet administration last week. Contingents of Indian Police had arrived at the printing presses of leading newspapers at 11:30 p.m on February 09, the day Afzal Guru was hanged, asking the people there not to print newspapers.
At least 60 newspapers are published from Srinagar in English and Urdu languages.