ISLAMABAD, Sep 21 (APP): The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) on Tuesday condemned the virtual ban imposed by the Indian government on publication of Kashmir-based newspapers and other media institutions and declared that the media community would not allow any type of restrictions on the media and raise the issue on all forums. The Kashmir Valley again had no newspapers on Tuesday due to restrictions on media persons imposed by the authorities without any justification and as it deprives the people at large from the basic and universal right to know.
Four newspapers were published on Monday but their staff was allegedly beaten up and the distribution was affected, as per confirmed reports reaching the PFUJ Secretariat. The PFUJ termed this act of the authorities a direct attack on independence of the media and appealed to international journalist community to raise their voice against such uncalled for arbitrary acts of the authorities. The PFUJ pointed out that “some of the media houses tried to resume publication on Sunday. But the police reportedly beat up several journalists and workers of four newspapers and some of them were taken to hospital. “Several thousand newspapers are lying in the respective offices as the police chased distributors and hawkers during early hours of Sunday,” as per message communicated by the concerned journalists to the media. It was further reported that the police and paramilitaries are preventing journalists from circulating and from going to their place of work.” The regional dailies were no longer being printed in Srinagar because of the curfew. “Radio Kashmir had to cancel its morning press review because of the lack of newspapers,” Contrary to this highly objectionable situation, the authorities were facilitating the work of Indian journalists while imposing harsh restrictions on those who were based in the territory. “They were virtually blocking the communication lines, on account of strictly imposed curfew. “The troops subjected the distributors and hawkers to brute force at Press Colony for distributing papers. The troopers at Kak Sarai area stopped cab of a local English daily and the staffers within were roughed up”, the reports added. “The puppet administration has directed the local channels to stop broadcasting news and current affairs programmes. Several foreign channels and those operated from Pakistan including Hadi TV, Noor TV and other Islamic Channels have been completely taken off air,” the PFUJ regretted. The PFUJ said that on the pretext of maintaining law and order in the area it is pity that media is being prevented from its professional assignments and duties, which is a deplorable act of the authorities. Commenting on this alarming situation, the PFUJ said that this had made the intentions of Indian government clear that it did not want newspapers to be published from Kashmir . “This has resulted in huge losses to this industry and also deprived masses of necessary information during this crisis. The PFUJ calls on world journalists organizations and all other media workers to join together to support unequivocally to journalists of Kashmir against the oppression they face.