When media came under attack in Kashmir

BY Muzamil Jameel| IN Media Freedom | 03/09/2008
During the present government clampdown, for the first time in Kashmir’s history, newspapers could not go to print for seven consecutive days.

                Reprinted from The Indian Express  September 3rd



As Kashmir churned with protests and incidents of violence, a casualty that did not, ironically, receive much coverage was the media. During the present government clampdown to halt public processions, for the first time in Kashmir’s history, newspapers could not go to print for seven consecutive days. The reason: the Government had not issued curfew passes to the staff of media houses and distributors. The CRPF didn’t even entertain curfew passes issued by the district administration. Worse, there were at least 28 incidents of violence against the media in which security forces killed a cameraman and injured 36 reporters and photographers. A sampling: four staff members of the newspaper Greater Kashmir were beaten up at Rambagh by CRPF personnel while they were on their way to distribute copies. Three other staff members of the newspaper were attacked at the same checkpoint later.


Journalists were assaulted by angry crowds as well. NDTV’s cameraman, Amir Bhat was injured when people attacked his vehicle at SKIMS, while DNA’s Kashmir correspondent, Ishfaq-ul-Hassan, was thrashed by a crowd at Karan Nagar in Srinagar.


And even though the Director General of J&K Police, Kuldeep Khoda, gave assurances that journalists would be allowed to carry out their professional duties unhindered, the attacks continued well into August. A few recent examples:


August 12: CRPF men fired at a CNN-IBN crew near Lasjan. Cameraman Bashir Ahmad Lone and two others had a narrow escape. Rashid Wani of Sahara News was beaten up.


August 13: CRPF personnel fired fatal shots at Javaid Ahmad Mir, a cameraman working for a local TV channel, near Bagh-e-Mehtab. Mir was on his way to his office.


August 13: Aaj Tak correspondent Ashraf Wani and cameraman Tariq Lone were injured when an angry mob attacked them inside SMHS hospital.


August 22: CRPF personnel thrashed IBN-7’s Muzamil Rashid and News 24’s Sheikh Umar at Habba Kadal where the security forces had opened fire at unruly protestors.


August 24: CRPF men smashed the car of The Indian Express correspondent Mir Ehsan at Baramulla. He had a narrow escape. On the same day, Sahara Samay’s Bilal Bhat and his colleagues were on their way to their workplace when their vehicle was stopped by the CRPF men at Rambagh. Though they had a curfew pass, the security personnel beat up Bhat, fracturing his ribs. His colleagues, Jan Mohammad and Muzaffar were also beaten up. S Fayaz of UNI was beaten up near SMHS hospital.


August 25: Star News correspondent Asif Qureshi was beaten up by CRPF men near Hyderpora. His curfew pass was not entertained and the windshields of his car were smashed.


August 28: The police raided the residence of Shujaat Bukhari, a correspondent with The Hindu.


August 29: The news editor of The Daily Etalaat, Ishfaq Tantray, was stopped near Radio Kashmir and beaten up.



From Indian Express Website, Kashmirlive.com


Ban on local TV channels lifted in Kashmir


Posted online: September 02, 2008 at 1340


The state government has lifted the nine-day ban on local television channels after the operators gave an undertaking that they will abide by the regulations of Cable Television Act.


Srinagar, Sep 2:  The Jammu and Kashmir Government has lifted the nine-day ban on local television channels after the operators gave an undertaking that they will abide by the regulations of Cable Television Act, an official spokesman said in Srinagar on Tuesday.

The ban on local cable television channels from telecasting news and current affairs programme was lifted by District Magistrate, Srinagar in an order passed on Monday evening, the spokesman said.

The order allowed the channels to air these programmes subject to the operators abiding by the regulations of Cable Television Network Act, 1965.

District Magistrate, Srinagar Kachoo Asfandyar Khan in exercise of powers under section 11(I) of the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act 1995 banned on August 24 telecasting of all news and other items which are inflammatory in nature and thereby disturbing the peace and tranquility of general public.

Although the channels had been allowed to air entertainment programmes, the operators decided to only flash the magistrate¿s order on their screens.

Four days after the ban, the cable operators, who have the bulk of market share in the Valley, decided to pull plug on the national news channels as well.

Feedback at editor@expressindia.com





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