The Kashmir Editors Guild on Friday said the state government had suspended advertising to two major local English dailies – Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Reader – without specifying a reason. The guild said the state administration is trying “deliberate strangulation and subversion of the institution of media in the state”.
An unidentified editor told The Telegraph that no government ads had gone to Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Reader since February 16. “We are told that around two dozen more newspapers are under the scanner of security agencies,” the editor said. “We have approached the top functionaries of the government but they have expressed helplessness.”
The Kashmir Editors Guild said it has decided to ask the Press Council of India and the Editors Guild of India to intervene in the matter, adding that it was taking measures to ensure that “the media in one of the most sensitive states is not strangulated”.
The organisation alleged that the attempt “at strangulating the media is in continuation of what has happened in the last more than three decades”. “The media in Kashmir is one of the most professional media and has retained its neutrality even at the cost of lives. It will continue to do so,” the statement said.
“Hitting the two institutions will impact the state and status of both, the journalists and the journalism in Kashmir,” it added.
The state has been under President’s rule since December 2018. Governor’s rule was imposed in June 2018 when the coalition state government fell apart after the Bharatiya Janata Party pulled out of an alliance with the Peoples Democratic Party.
Meanwhile, National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah described the situation as a case of shooting the messenger. “The state government is reported to have blocked the Greater Kashmir newspaper group from any government advertisements,” Abdullah tweeted. “If true, I am not sure what this move is meant to achieve other than to create a pliant, subservient media.”