Pakistan Press Foundation expresses grave concern over suppression of media in Indian held Jammu and Kashmir

Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), an independent non-governmental organization committed to promoting and defending freedom of expression has expressed grave concern over the communications blackout in Indian held Kashmir with arrest of journalists and by cutting off access to internet access, cable and television channels.

In a letter addressed to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, PPF Secretary General Owais Aslam Ali highlighted the recent report of United Nations that the blackout is a form of collective punishment of the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir, without even a pretext of a precipitating offence.

Amnesty International has also expressed concern at the ongoing communications blackout and noted that this may lead to possible human rights violations. IA also noted that the actions by the Indian government denies the people of Jammu and Kashmir their key human right to freedom of expression.

Similarly the Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ) has noted that “Severing all communications links is already an astounding violation of press freedom. Detaining journalists as Kashmir approaches nearly two weeks of this blackout is one more form of intimidation and obstruction of the media,”

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has also reported that independent news reporting from Indian held Kashmir is almost non-existent and that the authorities in New Delhi are doing everything possible to ensure that only the government’s version is heard.

PPF condemned this media, Internet and telecommunication blackout and arrests of journalists and urged the Indian government to take immediate steps to restore communications ensure that local and international journalists can report freely from Indian held Jammu and Kashmir.