Kashmir newspapers protest ad ‘ban’

After Pulwama attack, government took coercive measures to deny government ads to newspapers like Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Reader. The newspapers in the valley protest by publishing blank front page and citing the incident. The Kashmir Editors Guild had earlier sought the attention of the Press Council of India and the Editors Guild to exercise their legal, ethical and professional mandate to intervene in the issue and ensure that the media was not strangulated.

Government action against the two dailies came on February 16, two days after the Pulwama attack. The government, however, did not issue any formal order and the newspapers were on February 22 informed that the ban was imposed by “higher officials” without specifying anyone.

“The government did not send us a formal order. Whoever we contacted in the government said that it was an order from the “top”,” Haji Muhammad Hayat Bhat, founder and editor of Kashmir Reader said.

Condemning the ban, the guild had said the media in Kashmir is one of the most professional and has retained its neutrality even at the cost of lives.
“It will continue to do so. The professional capacities of Kashmir media have been acknowledged world over. The Press Council of India has also issued a detailed report in 2018, detailing the issues and challenges that the Kashmir media is facing. It also addressed certain misconceptions about the media in the report. The guild also wants to reiterate that the attempts at strangulating the media is in continuation of what has happened in last more than three decades,” it said.

About the newspapers

Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Reader are English language broadsheet daily newspapers published from Srinagar.

Owned by the Greater Kashmir Communications Private Limited, the former daily began publishing as a weekly newspaper in 1987 and moved to daily publishing in 1989. The newspaper has a circulation of over 1 lakh copies per day, Rashid Makhdoomi, printer and publisher of Greater Kashmir said.

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Written by Sugat Srivastava

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