Kashmir Press Club denounces curbs on journalists

Excelsior Correspondent

SRINAGAR, Sept 3: Kashmir Press Club (KPC) has expressed serious concern over the continuous communication blockade in Kashmir, which has completed a month now.
The executive committee of the club, in a meeting, said that due to unprecedented communication blockade affecting mobile telephony, internet and landlines, journalists have been crippled, overwhelmingly disabling them from reporting the ground situation.
“Since the communication blockade was imposed in the region on August 5, the Club took up the issue with the Government authorities concerned on several occasions, urging them to restore mobile phones, internet and telephone landlines to journalists and media outlets including newspapers and also the Club itself. But all these efforts have proved to be futile as these services have not been restored to journalists till date,” said a statement by the Press Club Kashmir.
Currently, hundreds of journalists (both local and visiting) and media workers are forced to stay in queue waiting for their turn to file their assignments at the makeshift Media Facilitation Centre in Srinagar. The centre is equipped with only five computers and a low speed internet connection, the statement added.
Alleging that despite repeated reminders by the Press Club, Directorate of Information and Public Relations has not made any attempt to enhance services including open access to Wi-fi for journalists at the centre until internet and telephone facility is restored in the Valley, Kashmir Press Club demanded that the Government should restore internet and telephone facility to journalists and media outlets.
The meeting also expressed its serious concern over the alleged harassment of Kashmiri journalists and pressure tactics adopted by the authorities, which have asked three scribes to vacate the Government accommodations as soon as possible.
The meeting also condemned the manner in which Kashmiri journalist and author Gowher Geelani, who is also an executive member of the Kashmir Press Club, was stopped at Delhi Airport and not allowed to board a flight to Germany on August 31, where he was scheduled to attend a media training workshop.
The meeting also took serious note of summoning of a Kashmiri journalist asking him to reveal his sources quoted in the story.