Monitoring Desk: The Executive Editor of Kashmir Times Anuradha Bhasin has observed that Kashmir (read as Indian Occupied Kashmir) is silenced and imprisoned while the economy of IoK had gone to drain.
It is pertinent to mention that one of the most prominent and respected journalists of Jammu and Kashmir (IoJK), Anuradha Bhasin went to the Supreme Court of India after the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A of the Constitution on August 5, 2019, for seeking Freedom of Speech and Media/Press.
In her exclusive interview with Sab Rang India (SabrangIndia), she stated that neither did the Supreme Court say that the internet should be immediately restored, instead, it put the ball in the government’s court and asked the government to review how the internet restrictions can be removed.
She is of the view that Media in Kashmir (IoJK) has always walked the razor’s edge. It has been intimidating. Journalists have been killed, they have been kidnapped, they have been threatened, beaten up and the government has also used either its forces to intimidate or browbeat journalists, as well as arm-twist media houses by stopping their advertisement flow. After August 5, (2019) it became even more difficult, because not only were restrictions imposed, the communication ban was so severe that not even the landline phones were working.
She says that new media policy is extremely frightening and it empowers the government to decide what fake news is, what anti-national is, to take action against journalists, to criminalise them, to run background checks of all journalists, all newspaper organisations. And take calls on whether they should be functioning, whether they should be getting government ads. She believes the entire policy is aimed to bring out the ‘positive narrative’ of the government that is absolutely contradictory to the very purpose of journalism, which is to hold the government accountable. And to show the mirror to the government. Speak truth to power.
“My colleagues in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly in Kashmir Valley, from my organisation and other organisations, have been bravely putting up with the challenges. Because it has become extremely difficult, many have virtually become quieter in the way they write, there were columnists whose columns have disappeared from local newspapers, in fact a lot of local newspapers, for quite some time, were not even publishing opinion pages. In fact some were writing about inane subjects and continue to do so without touching politics too much.
But some of the young reporters have done some great work. They have gone into the rural areas, the distressed areas, brought back stories of torture, of how people have suffered, how the health and education sector have taken a beating through the lockdown and despite many challenges, despite the hostilities of the government. These stories were important, very few, but important because they punctured the government’s claim that everything was normal,” commented while explaining media situation in the Indian Occupied region,” commented Anuradha Bhasin.