The Kashmir Editors Guild on Friday claimed that Governor Satya Pal Malik’s administration has suspended advertisements in two major daily newspapers– Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Reader to “deliberately strangulate and subvert the institution of media” in the state.
The Valley-based guild has also sought the “attention of the Press Council of India and the Editors Guild of India to exercise their legal, ethical and professional mandate to intervene in the issue.”
In a classic case of shooting the messenger the state government is reported to have blocked Greater Kashmir newspaper group from any government advertisements. If true I’m not sure what this move is meant to achieve other than to create a pliant, subservient media.
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) February 22, 2019
However, the editors of the two newspapers have stated that they are unaware of the reasons for this move. “We still don’t know the reason. Our DAVP advertisements were stopped in 2010 following unrest in the valley that summer, but we are not sure of what it is this time,” Riyaz Wani, Managing Editor, Greater Kashmir told The Indian Express.
The newspapers have not received any government advertisement in the last three days. Kashmir Reader was also banned in the aftermath of the agitations that followed Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s killing in 2016. The newspaper was forced to stop printing from October 2016 to December 2016. Chief Editor Hayat Mohammad Bhat said, “Since we started in 2010, we have been under scrutiny. However, this time I am surprised. All our reportage, whatever we have published has followed journalistic ethics. It is factual and correct. We have not received any DAVP ads since 2016.”
He added that when they approached the Directorate of Information and Publicity in Srinagar, “Our manager was told they have orders to hold back advertisements to the paper.”
KEG has “decided to fight the deliberate strangulation and subversion of the institution of media in the state. At a time when the democracy is in suspension, the KEG is seeking attention of the Press Council of India and the Editors Guild of India to exercise their legal, ethical and professional mandate to intervene in the issue and ensure that the media in one of the most sensitive states is not strangulated,” the guild said in a statement.
A “negative” intervention on part of the government in this situation, the KEG said, “is clearly aimed at slaying the institutions of media. Hitting the two institutions will impact the state and status of both, the journalists and the journalism in Kashmir.”
KEG has called upon Governor Satya Pal Malik and his policymakers that the “negative intervention” in the media is “compromising the constitution” as it goes against the constitutional guarantees within which the media operates in Kashmir and outside.