Kashmir: On 107th day of communication blackout, Press Club demands restoration

The clampdown aimed at gagging the press has led to job losses and cuts in advertising revenue

Kashmiri media

The internet shutdown in Kashmir entered its 107th day yesterday. After the abrogation of Article 370, journalists and locals have been bereft of internet services which are a major means of expression for all citizens.

Retaliating against this prolonged shutdown, journalists in the Valley yesterday staged a peaceful protest at the Press Club in Srinagar demanding the government to lift the ban, The Tribune reported.

The Press Club Management Committee observed that for journalists in Kashmir, the communication blackout had meant minuscule access to the world and over 100 days of deprivation and humiliation and termed the restrictions as “totally unwarranted, unreasonable and aimed at gagging the Kashmir press.”

“We took out a protest against the suspension of internet services for 100 days now,” said senior journalist Pervez Bukhari. “Internet is a basic tool for journalists to discharge their professional duties and we demand its immediate restoration.”

Holding placards that read, “100 days, no internet” protesting journalists said that the current situation was very humiliating and is not even seen in a war-like situation.

In a statement, the club observed that due to the communication blockade, newspapers in Kashmir had not been able to upload their Internet editions and update their websites, which in turn had led to a drastic job cut, besides loss of online advertisement revenue.

In Jammu, the Panther’s Party took to the streets against the blockade. “In today’s times it is unimaginable to think of life without internet, we have been pushed to stone-age,” Harsh Dev Singh President Panthers party told IANS. “We demand restoration of internet across Jammu and Kashmir and will continue to protest against the ban.”

It must be noted that the government has provided only 10 computers to the hundreds of journalists at the Media Facilitation Centre and that they have to wait their turn to file stories at the same in the biting cold.


Journalists in Kashmir have also protested the imposed internet curbs on earlier occasions as well. After the clampdown on August 5, many journalists were harassed, jailed and detained in a bid to prevent the ground reality and repercussions of the abrogation of Article 370 from coming to light. A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) too has been filed before the Supreme Court against the restrictions imposed in Kashmir by Anuradha Bhasin.

On Wednesday Home Minister Amit Shah stated in Parliament that the issue of opening of internet will be reviewed when the local administration feels the “situation is conducive”.

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