Srinagar: Even as the authorities claimed to have issued a few curfew passes to media persons in Kashmir, but authority still continue their crackdown on the media, especially locals- media.
A renowned journalist (Name quiet on the request) told Agence India Press that, what exactly government trying to hide to the people by gag on media.
“This happened many times during Kargil war also when local media was denied access to the information and media crews were brought from Delhi to cover the situation, he said.
But the media persons from outside state are free to visit any locale and cover all the events,” he added.
Their should be a similar rule for both media, either from state or outside state, why authority play step mother role with local media, he further said.
He said, we know that government is supporting Delhi based Journalists or media, because it is obviously they just hide the things and the present situation of Kashmir, in real manner Delhi media is a puppet for the state government.
Editors of Kashmir based newspapers on Friday ridiculed the authority claim that it had lifted curbs on the local media. They decided to suspend the publication of newspapers till authorities issue sufficient number of curfew passes for the staff members and distributors.
Bashir Ahmad, Managing Editor of leading Urdu daily Srinagar Times, said, “Earlier the government used to impose undeclared curfew now it has imposed undeclared ban on the media,”
Bashir said that in the morning various Kashmir based newspapers received phone calls from the Information department that local dailies can resume publication and they can collect new curfew passes but they remained non committal about the number of passes to be issued.
“All the newspaper offices were sent handful of passes. Newspaper office is an industry and editor only cannot run it. We need passes for reporters, sub-editors, layout designers, hawkers and distributors. Few passes won’t serve any purpose,” he added.
Bashir said that Editors of various local dailies deliberated upon the issue and they unanimously decided to suspend the publication of newspapers till sufficient numbers of passes are issued. “We also want to seek the assurance from the government that distributors and hawkers will be allowed to distribute the newspapers,” he added.
Meanwhile Five representatives bodies of newspaper owners, editors, working journalists, photo, journalists and video journalists on Friday denounced the government claim that restrictions on media had been lifted. They decided to suspend the publication of newspapers for tomorrow in view of insufficient number of curfew passes issued and continued attacks on media.
President Kashmir Press Association Ghulam Hassan Kaloo, President Press Guild of Kashmir, Bashir Ahmad Bashir, President of Kashmir Journalists Corps Ishfaqul Hassan, President of Kashmir Press Photographers Association Farooq Javed and President of Kashmir Video Journalists Association S Tariq in a joint statement termed the government announcement as mere eye wash to counter the condemnation from journalist bodies at national and International level.
A joint statement issued by the five organizations said that the members of these organizations had decided to hold a joint meeting but given the restrictions couldn’t do so. The members then had the deliberations on telephone and the issue of continued restrictions was discussed threadbare. Government’s discriminatory attitude towards Kashmir based media persons who were denied access to information and events but the journalists coming from Delhi were treated as special guests and all facilities were extended to them.
“Curfew passes were cancelled, media persons were beaten and forced to remain in-doors and the government has the cheek to say that there were no restrictions,” the statement said, adding, “Even when the members of five organizations were discussing the situation, one senior journalist Riyaz Masroor was beaten and left with a fractured arm,” the statement said.
Though the government claimed that curfew passes were issued to Editors of the newspapers and few accredited journalists, the statement said that it was only to deceive those national and international bodies who had extended solidarity to hundreds of Kashmiri journalists who continue to be under siege.
“It is not the Editor who can bring out a newspaper. There are other people – people involved with desk-top printing; lay-out designing; printing; distribution who make the publication possible. Issuing a few curfew passes is not going to help publication,” the statement said.
And also, the statement said, the staff members of newspapers are stuck in different curfew hit areas and therefore how could the curfew passes be delivered to them so that they are able to report to their respective organisations. Similarly the working journalists are facing problems in moving to offices and other places to get information.
Deliberating upon these issues, the statement said, these organizations described government’s reported decision of issuing few curfew passes as a mere eye-was lacking seriousness.
In this backdrop, the statement said, that it was not humanly possible to publish and then circulate the newspapers given the restrictions and therefore there would be no newspaper on Saturday too.
The statement said that members of all five organizations will have another meeting Saturday to review the situation and chalk out future strategy accordingly.
The organizations expressed solidarity with all the media persons who were brutalized during these days by armed forces and condemned the attack on Riyaz Masroor.